Hello my fellow wordsmiths and page turners,

I am a simple man, but there are some things that grate on me, and the misuse of words is one of them, and I admit that sometimes I have been guilty of this myself! However in order to strive for something reminiscent of perfection I am always willing to correct myself where possible. please see below my top 10 misused words.

10. Actually

How we use it: People tend to use actually to stress their opinion, for example : “Actually, Nathan Fillion is the best actor ever”

What it actually means: The truth or facts of a situation or to emphasize that something someone has said or done is surprising.

9. Adverse

How we use it: The word is often mixed up with averse which means to have a strong dislike or opposition to something

What is actually means: preventing success or the development of something, for example: “an adverse reaction”

8, Completement

“Don’t go fishing for complements” 

How we use it: often mistaken for the word compliment, which is to politely express praise or admiration.

What it actually means: To complete or make something perfect.

7, Decimate

How we use it: We use this word in place of obliterate, which means to destroy something in its entirety “He absolutely decimated that cake, now only crumbs remain”

What it actually means: To reduce something by one tenth.

6, Inflammable

How we use it: Something that is hard to set on fire (nonflammable)

What it actually means: Something that is easily set on fire.

5, Nauseaous

How we use it: This word is often mixed up with Nauseated, and is used to express that a person 

What it actually means: Can cause Nausea

4, Principal

How we use it: Often mixed up with Principle, which can mean either a fundamental truth or proposition, or it can be a general scientific theorem or law.

What it actually means: Principal refers to a person of the highest authority in a group or an original sum of money.

3,  Travesty

How we use it: We often interchange this word with tragedy, which refers to an event causing great suffering, destruction or distress.

What it actually means: A false, absurd or distorted representation of something.

2, Literally

controversial for the second spot it know..

How we use it: This word is popularly used metaphorically, for example: “I literally died!” or ” there were like, a million people there”

What it actually means: In a literal manner or sense, in order words if you literally died, you would be dead, and if there were literally a million people, there were a million people (that’s a lot of people)

1. Ironic

This has to be the number one for me, it’s used incorrectly by so many individuals on a daily basis!

How we use it: Ironic does not refer to an amusing coincidence. For example, “it took me an age to get to the bank for some cash on my dinner as the traffic was awful, and when I finally got there it was closed” 

What it actually means: Something that happens in a way contrary to what is expected, and typically causing wry amusement because of this.

“It took me an age to get to the bank for some cash on my dinner as the traffic was awful, and when I finally got there I found £50 in my glovebox”

And that concludes my top 10 misused words, I know that you can argue that words are constantly changing definition depending on how they are used in society, as language is forever evolving. But sometimes I think things have to slow down, but what do you think? Do you know of any other words that are used incorrectly, let us know in the comments.


Until next time, read more books

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