Five Misused Words or Sayings

Okay, so we all do this. We hear a word or a saying often enough, we unconsciously add it to our vocabulary. It’s like if you spend enough time in England, you might start to say “lift” instead of “elevator” (and you might to it in a British accent to boot).

But these five below have been making their rounds into the American lexicon for some time now, and here’s hoping we can stop them from annoying us for much longer. (Or, at least, for the two of you who actually read this blog).

LITERALLY
As my friend Sarah would kindly remind me, I’ve been guilty of this one from time to time myself. Many people use this as a helper word to add gravity to any given situation, such as “I’d literally die if I had to go outside in this heat”. Unless it’s 350 degrees out – no, you couldn’t LITERALLY die. Literally implies there’s no hyperbole in your language; that whatever you say is to be taken at 100% face value. So if you say you literally pissed yourself on the roller coaster at Six Flags, then you should probably change your pants immediately.

A CASE OF THE MONDAYS
A pretty bad pun that no one actually got. The line is supposed to be “A case of the Mon-DAZE”, a play on words. This indicates that you are dazed, because it is Monday. A case of the Mondays is nonsensical and pointless.

I COULD CARE LESS
This one you’re just getting plain wrong. If you COULD care less, that means that you actually have some amount of caring in this situation. If you’re trying to indicate you don’t care at all, or your general lack of caring, then you say, “I COULDN’T care less”.

IT IS WHAT IT IS
One of my favorite lines from film is “No matter where you go, there you are”. That’s what I always think about with this phrase. It is what it is generally is used as a dismissive phrase – as in, there’s nothing we can do about this. It can also be used to describe everything – EVERYTHING is what it is.

ALL HANDS ON DECK
Why does all corporate America speak seem to revolve around nautical terms? On boarding, we’re taking on water, all hands on deck? I find this strange. Okay, so if you call for all hands on deck on an actual boat, that brings everyone to, you guessed it, the deck of the ship. Generally used in an emergency. However, depending on the situation (and what kind of boat you are in), that could leave you (a) without anyone steering, (b) without anyone rowing and (c) without anyone to man the weapons. You might just want to say, “we need everyone’s help on this for a couple of hours”.