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SPEAK SMARTER: Are You Messing Up These Six Common Phrases?

Businessman in discussion with coworker in office

Nobody wants to sound silly, but it happens even when we try not to.  But could we be sounding foolish, sometimes, when we have no idea?

Here is a great way to Work Smarter Not Harder, by getting these six common phrases right, when a lot of people get them wrong…  It could help your career.  People sense they can trust you to get things right; that you do pay attention to the little things.

1.  Do you “flush out” an idea, or “flesh it out”?  “Flesh out” is correct.  It means you’re adding substance or “flesh” to something.  “Flush out” is when you make something leave its hiding place.  Like flushing birds out of a tree, or “flushing out the truth.”

2.  “Chomping at the bit” or “champing at the bit”?  Both are okay, but the original phrase was “CHAMPING.”  It’s when a horse grinds its teeth on the piece of metal in its mouth.  Now we mostly use it to mean you can’t wait for something to start.

3.  “Set foot in” or “step foot in”?  “Set foot” is the right way to say it.  Saying you wouldn’t “step foot” somewhere is technically wrong.  Stepping is something you do with your feet, but you don’t “step foot” anywhere.

4.  “Hunger pains” or “hunger pangs”?  Most people say “pains,” so you’ll get away with it.  But it’s really “pangs.”  It means a “piercing spasm of pain.”

5.  “Case and point” or “case in point”?  Your case is “in” the point you’re making.  So it’s “case in point,” because they’re one and the same.  (By the way, “one AND the same” is the right way to say it.  “One IN the same” is wrong.) 

See the full story, here:  (BuzzFeed / Acrolinx)


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