I think we can all agree: English is a pretty weird language. There are silent Ks in words like “knife”, and then there’s the weird “gh” sound that happens in words like “neighbor”— even though if you use “gh” in a word like “ghost” it has a completely different sound.

We could go on and on with examples like those ones. However, if you grew up speaking English, although it’s confusing, by now you’ve probably got it down pat. But something that most people tend to get wrong? Proper phrase pronunciations.

Again, the English language is weird! And phrases can be just as weird as spelling. Chances are, you’ve been saying these common phrases wrong your whole life. Don’t worry, we’re about to explain how to say them the right way— and what the heck they actually mean.

  1. Correct phrase: “I couldn’t care less.”

    Most people say “I could care less,” which, when you think about it, would mean that you could actually care less than you do, even when you’re trying to make the point that you care very little. “I couldn’t care less” is how you would say that you literally could not care less, because you care the very least. (How much do you care about how to say this phrase?)

  2. Correct phrase: “For all intents and purposes.”

    Ever catch yourself saying “For all intensive purposes” instead of “For all intents and purposes”? Think about what you’re actually trying to say when you use this phrase. You want to consider the “intents” of the subject, not the “intensity.” That’s why “intents and purposes” is correct.

  3. Correct phrase: “Nip it in the bud”

    No, you do not want to nip anything in your butt—which is what many people say instead of “bud.” This phrase actually derives from the de-budding of plants, and is used to say you want to cancel or suppress something early on.

  4. Correct phrase: “One and the same”

    Contrary to popular belief, it’s not one “in” the same. When you use the phrase “one and the same,” you’re emphasizing that two things are almost identical to each other. People who say “in” typically just misheard this phrase before.

  5. Correct phrase: “Case in point”

    This phrase refers to an instance or example that illustrates the topic at hand being discussed. Lots of people accidentally say “case and point,” but that would mean two separate things: a case, and a point. (I’m totally picturing a man carrying a briefcase and pointing at it. Anyone else?).

  6. Correct phrase: “Regardless”

    When you use this word to preface a sentence, you mean to say “without regard.” Sometimes we throw a random “IR” in front of this word to make it “Irregardless,” which is incorrect. That would mean “without without regard.” #DoubleNegativeLife

  7. Correct phrase ”Of the utmost importance”

    Ever hear yourself saying “upmost” instead of “utmost”? Guilty. Using “utmost” means “of the greatest or highest degree.” Upmost is still a word – short for “uppermost” – but used for different situations, like referring to the highest in place, order, or rank.

  8. Correct phrase: “You’ve got another think coming”

    The reason it’s “think” and not “thing” is because this phrase is actually derived from the saying “If that’s what you think, you’ve got another think coming.” The incorrect phrase (using “thing” instead of “think”) has sort of become its own phrase in itself, but is incorrect to use in this sort of reference.

  9. Correct phrase: “They didn’t jibe so well”

    If you “jibe” with someone, you agree or harmonize with them. If you “jive” with someone, you’re technically saying you dance with them. So I mean, maybe both are correct. But if we’re being technical, the correct word is “jibe”!

  10. Correct phrase: “Fall by the wayside”

    To fall by the wayside means you’re lagging a bit behind (like myself when I try to keep up with my running group). However, “fall by the waste side” has become all too common—and all too wrong. That would technically mean someone fell by a pile of garbage!

  11. Correct phrase: “Scot-free”

    This phrase means someone who deserves punishment got away without any consequence. You know, like “That robber got off scot-free!” when they escaped jail time. If you’ve ever said “scotch free,” well, they probably just ran out of whisky.

Did you know you were pronouncing any of these phrases incorrectly? Which one blew your mind the most?