9 words and phrases that you’re mispronouncing

Are you a hidebound reactionary or a linguistic libertine? Both sides will find plenty of ammunition in the list of mispronounced words and phrases below.

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Mispronouncing smart words and phrases is like wearing a suit with a stain on it. Your intention is to appear sharp, but you look sloppy regardless of how nice the suit is.

Some mispronunciations have become common enough that the correct word or phrase confuses readers. In your writing, should you follow common or proper usage? Prescriptivists, language conservatives, and descriptivists, language liberals, would argue.

Read the following frequently mispronounced words and phrases to help you decide:

1. Incorrect: chomp at the bit
Correct: champ at the bit

The idiom champ at the bit refers to the chewing action horses make while waiting to race. Champ means to bite or chew and bit is the metal mouthpiece used for controlling a horse. Chomp and champ share similar meanings, making this mispronunciation one of the lesser offenses.

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