Thursday, 4 June 2015

Eight things people say that make them seem stupid

I’m going to put my English teacher’s hat on, again today. I like helping people create the best impression, so I often feel compelled to show others how to be better speakers and writers. Today’s post is all about those words we hear people say that are either mispronounced, misused or not real words at all.
Snuck: English speaking North Americans use this term all the time as the past tense of sneak, but it is not a real word. It is considered a non-standard form because the past tense of "sneak" is actually "sneaked". Consider: “He sneaked into his sister’s room and stole her iPod.”
Doggy dog: This phrase is a misuse of the phrase, “dog-eat-dog” which refers to highly competitive behaviour (notice the Canadian/ British spelling of behaviour). Unless you are referring to a rap singer, please use the correct, three word form. Consider the common statement: “It is a dog-eat-dog world out there.”
All Timers/ Old Timers: I really hate when I hear this. Alzheimer’s Disease is a disease which causes premature dementia. It was named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer; the German doctor who discovered it. Never get caught sounding uneducated.
Expresso: This word will come with some debate. The original word for the well-known brewed Italian coffee is “espresso”. The letter “x” appeared in the media as a misspelling and stuck, so now it can be interpreted as being an alternate form. Know- it-all types like me, however, will always mentally cringe and correct. You will never go wrong saying it with the “s”, but the “x” may cause someone to question your intelligence.
For all intensive purposes: This is an especially irritating thing I hear people say. The phrase is supposed to be, “for all intents and purposes”. It means exactly what it says. If you use the word, “intensive”, the phrase loses its meaning. What is an intensive purpose supposed to be?
Prostrate vs. Prostate: There is a time to bend over and a time to have your prostate checked. The body part is the prostate and is susceptible to cancer. If you are told to prostrate, then you should at least be bent forward at the waist.  In order to have your prostate checked, you will need to prostrate. Get it?
Cowobberate: If you say it quickly and keep talking, maybe nobody will notice you mispronounced the word, “corroborate” which is a term we use when we want to verify information. The police often look for witnesses to corroborate statements made during an investigation. Unless you are Elmer Fudd, there is no excuse for mispronouncing this word.
Gorilla Marketing: This one really makes be laugh. You have to listen carefully to hear it, but when it is written, it is very clearly incorrect.  I see it written this way once in a while (once on a marketing site), and it is always wrong. The correct term is “Guerilla Marketing”. It is called “Guerilla Marketing” because it refers to a marketing tactic. Gorillas are animals and unless you are marketing in a gorilla costume, you need to use the word, “guerilla”.
Have you been making any of these mistakes? Time to start practicing correct speech. Being able to speak eloquently and deliver a succinct message will always give people a favourable impression of you and your business.
Renée Cormier is a Public Relations and Communications Professional, published author, and sales and marketing strategist. Need help with your marketing communications or public reputation? Visit to contact.
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