A blog post at Writer Unboxed: Phrases You’re Probably Using Wrong
How many of you immediately said, “I bet I’m not.” Everyone? Yes, I thought so! That’s why I feel a bit annoyed at blog post titles that use the word “You” in connection with “doing it wrong.” It’s intrinsically condescending toward the readers of that post, which is particularly out of place when the readers of that blog probably enjoy language and words, which I would sort of imagine is true of the readers of Writers Unboxed and am very sure is true of readers here.
Let’s just check out those phrases …
“Home in on.” I know you want to say “hone in on.” –—> I do not. I know perfectly well it’s “home in on” and why that’s the correct phrase. I think your incorrect phrase looks and sounds strange. I doubt whether many people actually say “hone in on.”
You walk hand in hand with your beloved—your hand in their hand, of course. Not “hand and hand.” —-> I know that. Everyone knows that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that mistake.
Are there ANY phrases here which people actually use wrong? Let me scan down the list … nope. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of these mistakes in print. “Probably” using wrong my foot.
One exception: the first phrase, the one used to introduce the post, is “begging the question.” But that one has taken on the previously incorrect meaning, so now it has two meanings, both accepted (by me, I mean, because this is not a hill I would personally die on). The first meaning is “assert something iffy as an unproven premise for your argument.” The second, newer, meaning is “invite a particular question.”
I will suggest a phrase that I think a lot of people do get wrong:
I could care less. If you could care less, then … you could care less, so I guess you care kind of a lot? The actual phrase that makes sense is I couldn’t care less. That’s the one that means it’s not possible to care less because I already don’t care at all. I think I DO hear and see people say “I could care less” when they plainly mean “I couldn’t care less.” That’s the one phrase that leaps to my mind when someone says something about phrases that are used incorrectly.