It seems there are always ten more and ten more. I could go on for quite a long time, listing misused words and phrases. Don’t worry. I’m not being judgmental. Many people misuse these expressions all the time. Even news anchors come out with these mistakes.
Usually, my feeling is that it’s your right to talk and write any way you want, but if you publish it, then it should be correct.
Here are ten more expressions that many people use incorrectly.
- fortuitous – This does not necessarily mean fortunate or lucky. It refers to something (usually a good thing) that happens by chance or by accident, not by design. The distinction is fine, but take care when you use this word.
- kind of/sort of – These expressions should only be used in familiar writing styles, where they are used to replace “rather” or “something like.” More extreme misuses (such as “kinda” and “sorta”) leave me shuddering, but I have suffered through novels that use these expressions throughout. I will concede that in rare cases, a character may use “kinda” and “sorta” in dialogue, but in narrative sections of the text they are not good form. Save your use of kind of/sort of for when you mean a type or variety of something.
- less/fewer – Use less for quantity and fewer for a number. e.g. We have less money, but we have fewer dollars. We have less rain because fewer raindrops fell.
- amount/number – Use amount for quantity, and number for something that is potentially countable. e.g. The number of people at the concert was huge, but so was the amount of garbage they left behind.
- irregardless – Not a word. The negative (less) is already in the suffix of the word “regardless.” The association with words such as irregular and irresponsible could be the cause of some of the confusion.
- personally – Not needed in most cases. Just leave it out. It might be used to differentiate between being somewhere in person, as opposed to being there virtually (on the Internet), but in general use, it is often repetitive and serves little purpose.
- interesting – This is not an interesting word unless you make it so by adding details to tell why.
- true fact – A fact is something verifiable, so to say that something is a true fact is redundant. All facts are true; otherwise they are not facts.
- as good as – Avoid dropping the second “as.” The expression is incomplete without it. Wrong: She’s as good or better than me in tennis. Right: She’s as good as or better than me in tennis.
- point in time – Don’t use this expression. It means nothing. There is no “point” in time. it is continually passing by.