• Robin Kastengren

Are You Saying That Wrong?

Ok, ok, I know the old Grammar Grouch routine gets old, but some of these are funny and one caught me off guard. You can find long lists of commonly mistaken sayings all over the web, these are the ones I like (or hate) the most.


1. It's a Doggy-Dog World.



Let me start with my favorite. I found it here on this blog. Why is it my favorite? Because the writer states that there is no such thing as a “doggy-dog” world. I think Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr., would disagree with that statement. Martha Stewart probably would, as well.


But seriously, the actual phrase is “dog-eat-dog” world, and it is meant to describe a situation of ruthless competition, one where people will do whatever it takes to be successful.


That definition is not exactly what Snoop is getting at, so be sure you're using the phrase correctly!



2. Suppose v. Supposed


Suppose means to assume something, or consider something, or to believe something is true, generally for the sake of an argument or as a guess. “Suppose what you say is true: there is no such thing as a 'doggy-dog world.'” Another example: “I suppose we should leave now, although I'd rather stay for another drink.”


If you're talking about something that you should do, or that you ought to do, the word you're looking for is “supposed.” For example, “I'm supposed to leave for work at 7:00, but I'm running late.”


3. I Could Care Less


Well, if you could care less then you should. If you couldn't care less then you are all out of care at the moment. You are caring the absolute least.


Consider this sophisticated graph of caring:


| 0-----6-------------20------ |


If your amount of caring is at level zero, you couldn't care less because caring is all gone. If your amount of caring is at 6, well then you could care less, but not much. If your amount of caring is at 20, clearly you care.


4. For All Intensive Purposes


No, really, how intensive is your purpose?


The phrase you're looking for is “for all intents and purposes,” meaning “in every practical way.” Not in every single possible way, just the practical ones. “For all intents and purposes, this thing is useless.”


5. A Bald-Faced Lie


That is the correct way to say it. A common misinterpretation is “bold-faced lie,” and the less-common but much more comical “ball-faced lie.” The idea behind the “bald-faced lie” is that it's not hiding behind anything or otherwise trying to represent itself as true. It's a blatant lie.


6. Irregardless...


...is not a word. That is all. I realize the dictionary has it listed as a word, but the single-word definition is "regardless," so I think my point is made.


7. You Have Another Thing Coming


We return to the blog post of my first example. Scroll on down to number 14. The author suggests that the correct phrase is “you have another think coming.” I have never heard the phrase used with the word “think” before, so I did some searching around the web.


It turns out, there is a whole world out there that says “you have another think coming,” perhaps around 50% of the English-speaking population. If you like spending hours reading about words and usage (ahem), check out this interesting conversation. For the Cliff's Notes version, read here.

Well, what are you? A think-er or a thing-er?


I'm sticking with “thing." It's the only way I've ever known it, and Judas Priest is on my side. Although I think I'll go out of my way to never use it in writing now that I know that half of the English-speaking population thinks I'm wrong.




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