For All Intensive Purposes…and Other Commonly Misused Phrases
Sometimes, to make your ideas flow from one to the next or to hammer home a point, you use a common phrase to get the job done. We all do it from time to time, but there is a problem. It seems that many of us heard these phrases incorrectly and then adopted the incorrect version as law, then spread them around society, continuing to this very day.
Speaking these phrases incorrectly is one thing, because they often sound similar to the correct way, but if you write them they will be there for everyone to see forever!
For All Intensive Purposes
This is the phrase that inspired the title and the entire post. If you have been saying “for all intensive purposes,” please stop immediately. The correct phrase is “for all intents and purposes.” Yes, you read that right.
Basically, it means for all practical purposes or for every functional purpose or practically speaking. Your thoughts may indeed be intensive, but that will never make this phrase correct.
I Could Care Less
How many times have you heard this, or even said it yourself? Sally wants to make a strong point to Kate, just to let Kate know that she doesn’t care about her opinion or a specific topic. So, Sally comes out with “I could care less about what you are saying!”
Sounds dramatic enough, but in reality if Sally could care less than she already does, her feelings aren’t really very strong. What she should have said is, “I couldn’t care less.” It’s a minor change, but this would indicate that she couldn’t care any less than she does, meaning she doesn’t care at all.
Nip It In the Butt
Many serious issues and even full-on disasters have been averted over time because someone was able to nip the situation in the bud before it got out of control. It’s a simple mistake, but nipping something in the butt means you are biting its backside and not stopping it before it gets started.
The acts of extracting and exacting sound similar, but have very different meanings. To exact means to demand something and get it, while to extract generally means to pull something out of something else, like a tooth out of your mouth. This is a tough one to get right because they sound and look similar, but you are not removing revenge from anything, you are dishing it out, so use exact in this situation.
That Doesn’t Jive with Me
Sometimes, in an effort to find a new and cool way to say you don’t understand something, you’ll say, “That doesn’t jive with me.” Sounds pretty hip, but it isn’t right under the circumstances. Replace the word jive with jibe, which means you agree with someone or something. If you aren’t cool with it, it doesn’t jibe with you. Whether or not you like to jive is another story.