Want to Look Dumb? Use These Words Incorrectly

Photo (cc) by Cubosh

Unless you’re looking for a real-life starring role in “Dumb and Dumber,” there are many words in the English language that you may want to pay special attention to, or risk sounding stupid.

Jeff Haden, a contributor to LinkedIn, identified 40 often incorrectly used words that can make you seem dumb.

Remember, just one typo can get your resume tossed in the trash. The same no doubt applies to incorrectly used words.

Are you making some of these word blunders? Let’s find out.

Here are some of the biggest offenders:

  • Affect and effect. Typically, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. Affect means to influence, while effect means something that’s been accomplished, Haden writes. For instance, “My hair was affected by the humidity,” and “The effect of no naps for the baby was fussiness and crying.”
  • Bring and take. I am guilty of misusing these words. While both words have to do with items you move or carry, Haden points out that “you bring things here and you take them there.” Sounds easy, right? Can you bring a bag of chips to the barbecue? No, but you can take them there.
  • Farther and further. Although both involve distance, farther involves a physical distance, and further typically implicates a figurative distance. “Montana is farther from New Jersey than Utah.” Grammarist.com gives this example: “The price of a stock fell further today than yesterday.”
  • Irregardless and regardless. The words are intended to mean the same thing. Irregardless is a double negative, so its literal meaning is the opposite of its intended meaning. It’s also a pet peeve of many people (including yours truly). “It is probably best avoided by careful writers, especially in any type of formal writing, if only because so many people despise it,” Grammarist.com said.
  • Who’s and whose. While who’s is a contraction for “who is” or “who has,” whose is possessive. For instance, “Whose password hasn’t been changed in six months?” is correct, Haden writes.

Click here to access the “40 Incorrectly Used Words That Can Make You Look Dumb” post in its entirety.

I know something about writing, but I still goof up words from time to time and feel dumb. How’s your grammar? Take a quick, 15-question quiz here. I don’t want to brag (or maybe I do), but I scored a 15. Yes!

Are there any words that you commonly misuse? Or are there words that you hear other people use incorrectly that drive you nuts? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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