You’ve probably heard several people talk about how funny the English language is. Sometimes the same words can mean two different things and sometimes two different things can be represented by the same word. In this confusion, it’s not a surprise that we end up getting things wrong. Here are 15 common English words that you might be using incorrectly, but not anymore!
Incorrect: We use ironic as something phenomenally funny that has happened in our life through the magical cosmic powers.
Correct: While in reality, it’s an occurrence that is the opposite of what was expected. This might or might not be funny.
Incorrect: The ‘affect and effect’ confusion has been going on for a long time. We end up using effect as something that brings about a change.
Correct: But it’s actually a change that is brought about by an action. A simple way to remember is by the phrase ‘cause and effect’. There has to be a cause to have an effect.
Incorrect: Tortuous does not mean something that causes torture. Surprised? We bet you are!
Correct: Tortuous is something that has a lot of twists and turns. So when you say that story was tortuous, you don’t mean it tortured you but that it was full of surprises.
Incorrect: Using chronic as an alternative for serious or intense. You might say ‘she has a chronic illness’, but that wouldn’t quite be correct unless...
Correct: Her illness is something that has lasted for more time than expected. So it would be right to say ‘she has a chronic cold’ when her cold has lasted for more than the expected time period.
Incorrect: To be bemused by something has absolutely nothing to do with being amused which is what we use the word to imply many times.
Correct: You are bemused by something if you are confused or puzzled by it. And we all know that doesn’t always lead to amusement!
Incorrect: This should have been easy, right? Simplistic means something that is...simple? Wrong.
Correct: Simplistic is a situation when something complex is treated as way simpler than it is. Over simplification, if we may say so.
Incorrect: Panacea might not be as commonly used as the other words but it is definitely one of the most incorrectly used words. We use panacea to refer to a cure.
Correct: However, panacea actually means such a medication that cures all difficulties. So basically, a cure-all.
Incorrect: Travesty is used as an alternative for an unfortunate event that happens to someone. For example, it’s a travesty that the man is a beggar.
Correct: A travesty, however, is a false representation of something. So the beggar’s life would be a travesty if he was to be represented as a rich man.
Incorrect: We all use redundant to say that something is being repeated again and again.
Correct: However, that repetition will only be redundant if it is not needed. Or is just a useless addition.
Incorrect: Like lots of other fresh graduates we’ve all used peruse in our CVs. Many of us use it to mean just to skim over a piece of text.
Correct: But to peruse actually means to read something very thoroughly. So when you peruse through something, you actually read it at length.
Incorrect: Acronyms, as we all know, is an abbreviation using the first letters of a phrase. That is only partially correct.
Correct: An acronym is the abbreviation using the first letters of a phrase and which is then pronounced as a word itself. For example, NASA.
Incorrect: Inflammable is often used to describe something that is not easily set on fire for the simple reason that it has ‘in’ as a prefix and ‘flammable’ as a suffix.
Correct: However, inflammable means something that is easily set on fire. The exact opposite of what it is thought to be!
Incorrect: When you say I feel nauseous, it’s the wrong way to go about it because you are basically saying that you feel sick.
Correct: While nauseous is actually something that causes the feeling of sickness. So something can either make you nauseous or you can make someone nauseous.
Incorrect: ‘I refuted his argument!’ is a phrase often used by us to mean that we disagreed with someone’s argument. That, however, is wrong.
Correct: You refute someone’s argument only when you prove that person’s argument is wrong.
Incorrect: We use compelled when we do something due to a moral impulse.
Correct: However, compelled means to be forced or pressured to do something.