There are several words in our confusing language that either sound like another word, or we don’t hear it correctly and keep repeating it without knowing if we are using the correct word. Here are a few:
Hone: means to sharpen; it does not mean to home in on or converge.
- He honed his computer skills. We will home in on a resolution.
Hung: means to suspend; it does not mean a rope from the neck until dead.
- I hung the mirror. The prisoner was hanged.
Irregardless: Just say regardless. There is no irregardless. Irrespective: means to ignore, discount, not considering.
- Regardless of your opinion, we voted.
- All dogs are cute, irrespective of breed.
And finally, one of the most misused words (literally misused)
Literally: means actual, factual, in the literal sense of the word; does not mean figuratively or metaphorically.
During the earthquake, the items literally flew off the shelves; not, The sale was so great, the items literally flew off the shelves. (that would be figuratively.)
I worked so hard on my project, I literally blew my brains out. (Oh, did you use explosives?) – blew the brains out is figuratively.