I’m not going to pick on all the obvious ones; they’re/their/there, you’re/your, two/to/too, etc. I’ve been guilty of making a few of those, which I hopefully correct before anyone notices.
The misuse of words does irk me, and I’ll get to that shortly, but I have noticed a tendency in people to make up new words. Alot is one of the most common; it isn’t one word, it’s two - a lot.
I once saw someone use nion when they meant nigh on. The same person later declared that they wanted to ‘right’ a book. Don’t give up the day job just yet.
Which brings me neatly to using one word when you mean another. The worst offender is ‘of’ instead of ‘have’ i.e. must of/should of/could of - another is the use of ‘his’ instead of ‘he’s’, as in ‘his an idiot’. None of these make sense, just stop it!
I know there are some who are confused by who and whom, try to remember that who is the subject and whom is the object. If you are in doubt, a handy tip is to rearrange the sentence. If the object is him/her, use whom, when the subject is he/she use who. For example: For whom the bell tolls - the bell tolls for him.
Another way to remember is this: If you are trying to get through to someone on the ‘phone and the person on the other end says “And whom should I say is calling?”, go round there and slap them, they’re an idiot.
I shall end this post with another exciting instalment of ‘You Say That, but You Mean Something Else’, where I point out three words that are criminally misused.
Alternate - people say this when they mean alternative, or having many options. Alternate means every second one. So you could work on alternate weekends but you can’t have an alternate plan.
Momentarily - this means for a short time not in a short time, as in ‘I momentarily lost concentration.’ Don’t say you will be leaving momentarily, you will be leaving shortly.
Nauseous - I love this word, especially when used for insults. When people abuse this word it makes my brain cry. Nauseous means sickening, i.e. to induce nausea, as in ‘That nauseous witch!’. When you feel the sense of nausea you are not nauseous, you are nauseated. Oh, and it’s not pronounced ‘norshush’ either.