Word Wisdom: Phrases I’ve Misinterpreted

Posted: April 9, 2012 in Word Wisdom
Tags: , , , ,

As writers, we generally have a pretty good hold on the English language. We like pointing out other people’s dangling participles (IYKWIM). We enjoy using random words like ennui or susurration in regular conversations. Or, my personal favorite, constantly correcting people when they use double negatives. (It’s probably my biggest pet peeve.) So, as writers, we generally have a pretty good hold on the English language.

Except when we’re wrong.

Have you ever heard a phrase over and over again – even used it yourself – then one day went, “Oh! That’s what that means?” or “That’s how you say that?” I know I have. And, for your viewing pleasure, here are my top five:

I might as well

I always said, “I mind as well,” then one day I realized that made absolutely no sense. Oops.

Lactose intolerant

Or, if you were me, you thought it was “lactose and tolerant.” I never did understand why people said this when they weren’t tolerant of dairy products.

Don’t take things for granted

I suppose always hearing “don’t take things for granite” could be much worse. I mean, even if it doesn’t have the same exact meaning, it still gets the point across.

Amber waves of grain

Imagine always singing “amber waves of gray” and wondering how waves were gray, and why they were gray if they were really amber…

Up and at ‘em

For the longest time I didn’t know who Adam was and why we had to get him up every morning.

Come on, I know I can’t be the only one. Have any of you grown up saying something one way, only to realize you’ve been wrong all of these years? Were you lucky enough to discover it on your own, or did you have someone point it out to you?

  1. Jenny Hansen says:

    I love a good Monday IYKWIM. 🙂

    • Karen Rought says:

      It’s the ONLY way to start Monday off, in my opinion!

    • S. J. Maylee says:

      I love to giggle and you got me going this morning. Thank You!! My husband is a musician and really good and figuring out song lyrics, me not so much. There is an AC/DC song- the lyric: dirty deeds done dirt cheap. I had no idea what they were saying so I made something up and I always sang my version. One day, early in our relationship, my then boyfriend heard me and started laughing (he still likes to bring up this story), b/c I was singing: dirty deeds dun dun chee

      • Karen Rought says:

        Hahaha! Song lyrics are a whole other category. I’m pretty bad with them too, but my best friend is even worse. She tends to make up some pretty creative lyrics that *sound* right, but are usually way off. Have you ever heard of the song, “Marry You” by Bruno Mars? There’s a lyric in here that goes, “Is it the look in your eyes, or is it this dancing juice?” She always sang, “…dancing Jews,” LOL. I love her so much.

  2. Becca says:

    One of my pet peeves is when people say, “I could care less.” If you COULD care less, then doesn’t that mean you care some? It makes no sense to say this when you are trying to tell people that you don’t care AT ALL. The correct phrase is “I couldn’t care less.” UGH!!! Lol.

  3. Luv this post. When I was a child, I used to say “And lead us not into Penn Station” in the Lord’s Prayer. I finally had to ask my day why not. Of course everyone thought it was funny.

  4. ddog13 says:

    And in the Pledge of Allegiance: One nation, under God, into-visible. Can’t tell you how often I hear that.

    • Karen Rought says:

      Hahaha. There must be something about saying the same thing over and over again that you start to just mesh all the words together. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of slaughtering the Pledge of Allegiance on more than one occassion!

  5. […] Word Wisdom: Phrases I’ve Misinterpreted by Karen Rought: This post had me laughing so much as Karen shares five common phrases that never made sense to her because she was hearing them incorrectly. Something I am sure we can all relate to. […]

  6. […] Karen Rought over at the Midnight Novalist wrote a post this past Monday that made me giggle: Word Wisdom: Phrases I’ve Misinterpreted […]

  7. BelleofMountains says:

    I always mispronounced synagogue as “syna-nog” until embarrassingly recently…and then there’s the ubiquitous switch of “volleyball” to “bally-ball”, which makes more sense to the young mind because you are, after all, playing with a ball…

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