Grammar Basics: What Are Commonly Confused Phrases in English?

Grammar Basics: What Are Commonly Confused Phrases in English?
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Updated on 25 March 2016

Are there certain phrases in English that you can never quite remember? Chances are, others have the same difficulty. Here are some of the most commonly confused expressions in English.

I couldn’t care less So you do care! That’s what you’ll be saying if you say what many others mistakenly do: I could care less.

By accident If you say this wrong, you might have learned it from a native speaker. Plenty of them say “on accident.”

First come, first served The ones who come first don’t serve, they are served.

Should have, would have, could have Of is a preposition with many meanings, none of which make sense with should, could, or would. The confusion might stem from how people hear the pronunciation of contractions like should’ve (should have). Admittedly, they do sound like “should of, could of, would of.”

You have (got) another think coming Almost no one gets this one right. The expression started as a clever rebuttal. If a friend says, “I think so-and-so would make a great president,” you could reply that she has another think coming. You’ve got another thing coming sounds ominous. It implies that something once came and another thing is on its way. But what thing is that?

For all intents and purposes Though some purposes intensify, this expression is not “for all intensive purposes.” It means for every practical reason.

If you are confused about an expression that is not on the list, visit Grammarly Answers. Hundreds of people are asking questions about phrases that puzzle them. As a matter of fact, you might find questions about an expression you learned about in this article. Share your newfound understanding or ask a question of your own.

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