God, you know, there are some phrases and words that people say incorrectly that REALLY piss me off. Today’s post is going to cover some of those common mistakes that people never even know or think about. So the next time you want to say “anyways,” “towards,” “used to” and “could care less,” you’ll know if you’re right or wrong.
Verbal vs. Written words
The written form is much more severe than the verbal form in the sense that it’s written. It’s there forever. If you fudge up, people will notice it. If you mispronounce a word, it’s fleeting–people hardly notice. If you spell a word incorrectly, that will come back and haunt you. However, since people tend to be more comfortable verbally, they tend to write “slang” terminology or mess up simple words or phrases. Let’s take a look at some of these words.
People say this a lot in conversation when they’re trying to change a topic. “Anyways…so I went to the mall today.” I think it might have spawned because people used it with “so.” Put it together you have “Anywayso” which molded into anyways. Anyway basically means “nonetheless.” It’s not really a transitional word like “however,” or “although.” Instead of the example I had before, you would use it more like, “I was really busy today, but I went to the mall anyway.” While it’s becoming more acceptable, it’s frowned upon in formal writing.
Ok, I’ll be technical. Both toward and towards are correct. BUT (there’s always a but!) towards is British English. Since I know I have readers from all over the world, think about how you spell most words. Do you use “gray,” or “grey?” “Color” or “colour?” “Theater” or “theatre?” “Center” or “centre?” If you typically use the former spellings, that’s American English and you should be using toward. If you typically use the latter spellings, that’s British English and you should be using towards. So all of you Americans that say towards, no one will beat you with a stick over it, but you should be using toward!
I see this a lot in student essays. While I view this as an informal phrase that should be avoided in academic writing, sometimes it just comes up and you don’t know how to get rid of it. If this is the case, you might as well do it correctly, right? Right. Used to always has a “d.” Simple as that. People commonly put “use to” because the “d” and “t” sounds run together and become hard to distinguish. Just like other words that add an -ed to become past tense, use adds a -d. For example, “I used to dance.” That means at one point I danced but no longer do. Rock on.
Could care less
You know what really grinds my gears (to quote Family Guy)? People who say they “could care less.” Ok, the phrase is supposed to mean “I don’t care.” Let’s think of this logically then. If you say, “I could care less” that means to some extent you DO care and that you could care for a lesser amount. The proper terminology is “couldn’t care less.” Essentially–“There is no possible way I could care less than I do right now.” So yeah, do it right 😛
Ok, that’s the end of this post but I KNOW there’s many other words and phrases out there that people screw up all the time. Be sure to comment and ask me questions so that I can help you! Good luck!