English is a complex language. It isn’t surprising that many words and phrases are commonly misused and misunderstood. There is scarcely any English speaker that doesn’t occasionally use a word or phrase incorrectly. However, if the goal is to lessen the number of times it happens, at least some of the errors can be avoided.
The reason this is true is that most frequently, people don’t realize that they are using a word wrong. Simply pointing it out can go a long way toward preventing the misuse of the words.
This is especially important to anyone who makes money from writing, including bloggers. A sad reality is that people are often seen as lacking intelligence based on improper word use. Of course, this has nothing to do with intelligence, but there is never a second opportunity to make a good first impression.
With all of this in mind, here are 10 commonly misused and misunderstood words.
'Disinterested' is so misused that it is incredible. The word does not mean uninterested or without interest. Disinterested means that the person isn't affiliated with either side of an argument and is thus is the best suited for rendering an impartial opinion or decision. In other words, someone who is disinterested is unbiased.
The term has to do with quantities that can't actually be counted. Thus, this would be correct: "I drank less milk today than I drank yesterday." Store aisles that proclaim, "10 items or less" are using the word incorrectly. It should be "10 items or fewer".
How many of these words do you sometimes use incorrectly? How often do you see or hear someone misusing them?