Words that sound alike but are spelled differently are frequently confused, such as the there/their/they’re problem. But when the confusion stems from a mishearing or misunderstanding, it’s called an eggcorn. The phrase seems to make sense, but when you examine it, the meaning doesn’t hold up. The expression comes from someone mistakenly referring to an acorn as an eggcorn.
Use this helpful list to avoid some of the most common mistakes.
- Bold-face vs. bald-face. Bold-faced type is used to make a visual impact in writing. But telling a bald-faced, or shameless, lie takes real guts.
- Supposably vs. supposedly. Supposably is not a word.
- Flush it out vs. flesh it out. To give an idea more detail, you want to flesh it out. When you have something in your eye, you might use an eye bath to flush it out.
- Seed vs. cede. This one is more of a misspelling. To cede is to give way.
- Copyrite or copywrite vs. copyright. Copyright is the right to ownership of a piece of writing. A copywriter generally cedes copyright to the client.
- Jive vs. jibe. Jibe is a nautical term meaning to go with the wind. Jive, on the other hand, is a dance style from the 1940s and 50s.
- All intensive purposes vs. all intents and purposes. Intense means really strong. An intent is a wish or a desire. So all intents and purposes is a phrase you use to discuss a plan you’re working on. Like this: For all intents and purposes, the contract became null and void when the delivery was a month late.
- Irregardless vs. regardless. Regardless of what you may have heard other people say, “irregardless” is not a word.
- Diamond dozen vs. dime a dozen. Those day-old bagels are a dime a dozen.
- Doggy dog world vs. dog-eat-dog world. Life can be a daily struggle. Remember Norm from Cheers? He once said, “It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and I’m wearing Milkbone underwear.”
- I could care less vs. I couldn’t care less. If you could care less, that means you DO care. So which is it?
- Common since vs. common sense. This may just be a misspelling for some people, but common sense dictates that a preposition (since) cannot be modified by an adjective (common).
- Baited breath vs. bated breath. Baited is what you do to a trap. Bated means stopped, or abated. If you’re holding your breath, it’s bated.
In your written and verbal business communications, it’s important to get your words right in order to make a good impression. What are some of the funny or interesting malapropisms or eggcorns you have heard?
If you’d like to ensure your important communications don’t contain any embarrassing errors, ask someone else to proofread for you. You can hire a Virtual Assistant. She can review website copy, emails, client communications, and more. Just contact me now, and I can help you out today!