4 phrases you’re saying totally wrong (though you didn’t actually ask me for my opinion)

This doesn’t reflect very well on me, but I obsessively read articles about the words people commonly get wrong—for the sole purpose of feeling good about myself that I’m such a twat master of language. (I know, right? I’m insufferable.) I’m the kind of hideous person who will correct you if you text me “your” instead of “you’re”, and I know that makes me a Grammar Nazi (although I think that’s a pretty extreme comparison) but I like it. So when I heard that I’d been guilty of one of these word-crimes myself, it came as a pretty nasty shock.

It happened a week ago. There I was, happily browsing through the depths of the HelloGiggles archives, blissfully unaware of what was about to hit me—when I found it. Slap bang in the middle of one of my favourite articles about commonly misused words. (Seriously, if you’re a word nerd like me, follow everything Tyler Vendetti writes. It’s all gold-dust.) I was using the word “nauseous” wrong. It didn’t actually mean “feeling sick” at all! All these years, I should have been saying “nauseated”! Off my high horse I fell. But unfortunately for everyone around me, this whole traumatic experience only made me sure of one thing: the internet needs one more article about words you’re using wrong.


So, here goes. These are a few more common phrases you’re all saying totally wrong (even though you didn’t actually ask me for my opinion).

  1. Take a rain check


Look, my fellow British people, let’s just leave this one to the Americans, OK? Because we’re really hashing it up. This phrase actually means “to politely refuse an offer, with the implication that one may take it up at a later date”. It’s a baseball reference: if a game was postponed due to rain, ticket holders could take a literal “rain cheque” which entitled them to another ticket later on. British people haven’t grasped this. We seem to think it means “to wait and see”.

  1. I could care less

Wifflegif (2)

OK, so everyone’s already pointed this out, but it doesn’t make it any less infuriating. The phrase is “I couldn’t care less”. If you could care less, then what you’re saying is that you care.

  1. One in the same


Nope, nope, nope. Come on. That doesn’t even make sense! If two things are identical, they are “one and the same”. Neither of them are inside the other. Cut that out.

  1. You’ve got another thing coming

Wifflegif (3)

Could you be any vaguer? What thing would that be? No—the actual phrase is “if you think that, you’ve got another think coming”. Admittedly, even the correct phrase doesn’t exactly stick to the rules of language, so I can see where the confusion arose. But it’s a centuries-old comical expression, and you can’t just change it.


Jeez. I haven’t even had my blog up for a fortnight yet, and I’m already off on long, aggressive tirades; that can’t be a good sign. I’ve just been feeling really stressed about this word thing. Ever since I read those fatal words on HelloGiggles—I’ve been feeling pretty nauseous.

Ha!, I hear you screaming, you just did it again! Well, no, because as it turns out, HelloGiggles weren’t quite right on this one. I did a bit of Googling, and “nauseous” has two meanings—so I’m in the clear. Phew.


Though let’s not mention that it turns out I’ve been using ‘spitting image’ completely wrong…

Which phrases do you hear people using totally wrong, or get wrong yourself? 

🍆🍆🍆Argue back on Twitter! 🍆🍆🍆

  • Thanks))

  • Hehe – I like the chap falling over…

    • He’s good isn’t he. Did YOU know that the phrase is actually “spit AND image” not “spitting image”??!

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  • Wendy Gassaway

    Often when I read those articles (because of course I do), I wonder–do people REALLY say that? Or is this writer just manufacturing outrage? I certainly have heard “could care less,” and I can believe that all of us might misuse other country’s idioms, as in your “rain check” example. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard “one in the same” or “another thing coming.” Maybe they are just urban myths?

    Oooh, here’s one though–when people mix up phase and faze. As in “unphased” or “going through a faze.” NOOOOOOOO!

    I am so relieved that your research determined I can keep using nauseous as I have. I’d read that it was wrong also, but couldn’t get my brain to make the switch. Thanks for that!

    What’s your position on using “impact” as a non-tooth-related verb? I can never decide whether I’m being an asshole by objecting.

    • I see them being used on Twitter all the time – I have to really clench my teeth not to be *that* person who’s always correcting! Particularly “another thing coming”—I asked my husband about it and he had no idea it was wrong! Apparently it’s the fault of this song: http://www.metrolyrics.com/youve-got-another-thing-coming-lyrics-judas-priest.html

      Haha I haven’t seen “unphased” or “going through a faze” being used but that’s so funny too! And I’m going to show my ignorance here but I don’t understand the last one—I didn’t actually know about impact as a tooth-related verb! What’s the story there?