Commonly Misused English Words

Free English

There are several English words that are commonly used incorrectly. Here are a few examples:

  1. Literally – Many people use “literally” to add emphasis to a statement, but often use it incorrectly. “Literally” means something actually happened, not figuratively or metaphorically. For example, saying “I was so hungry I could literally eat a horse” is not correct usage, unless you actually intend to eat a horse.
  2. Irregardless – “Irregardless” is often used instead of “regardless,” but it is not a proper word in standard English. The correct word is “regardless.”
  3. Unique – “Unique” means one of a kind, and therefore cannot be modified by words like “very” or “somewhat.” For example, saying “This is a very unique book” is incorrect usage.
  4. Decimate – Many people use “decimate” to mean “destroy completely,” but it actually means “to reduce by one-tenth.” For example, if an army of 100 soldiers is decimated, 10 soldiers would be killed.
  5. Enormity – “Enormity” is often used to mean “enormousness” or “great size,” but it actually refers to something that is morally wrong or evil. For example, saying “the enormity of the task” is incorrect usage.

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