13 Ways How The English Language Is Misused

Updated on 19 Jan, 2018 at 2:43 pm


Have you done it? Or, haven’t you? Misuse of English language is random, not only in 3rd world countries, but, in English-speaking countries too. It’s used too often to even understand that it is wrong. It’s not possible to take a guide on word-usage everywhere. Here’s a list of the most popular mistakes made by us, and how to correct them:

13. Ultimate

Ultimate, the word in Latin, actually means the last. However, you probably have heard it to be used as ‘the best’. We do get to see advertisements bearing the name as ‘the ultimate smartphone’ or ‘the ultimate bath finish’. The ultimate of everything is, well, yet to come. If it’s the best that you’re talking about, then, do call it the best.


12. Literally


This is a word which is misused widely rather than being used correctly. The word ‘literally’ should be used in case of something which is actually happening like, ‘The lady literally jumped off her feet.’ Whereas, it is more frequently used for emphasis, like, ‘Stream was literally coming out of her ears.’ Get the point?


11. Disinterested or Uninterested?

Many people tend to confuse each of these words for the other. The word disinterested means a third party which is independent. In case of disputes, it is said that a disinterested party may clear the situation. Uninterested, on the other hand refers to a party or someone who has no interest in a certain issue. For example, ‘She was uninterested to go for a movie.’

Disinterested or Uninterested?

10. Less and Fewer

Less is for comparing quantities which you cannot count and fewer is for comparing those which can be counted. When you are talking about milk or water for example, you should use ‘less’. And, in case of quantities which can be counted, you need to use ‘fewer’. It’s same for the phrases ‘greater than’ and ‘more than’. These mistakes are made very often. You must always take into account the thing which is being counted.

Less and Fewer

9. Enormity

The word enormity actually means ‘extreme evil’. You’ve probably heard it in places where it should have been ‘enormousness’ isn’t it? The biggest misuse? Former US President George W. Bush had said in a speech, after getting elected, that he ‘Couldn’t believe in the enormity of the situation.’ Knowing the actual meaning of the word now, do you think he was ironically correct?


8. Instant

We always think of magi or noodles whenever we come across the word ‘instant; don’t we? Instant noodles, anyone? Instant actually means a certain point in time. It doesn’t mean ‘very quickly’ or ‘within a minute or two’. Somehow, the meaning of the word has been convoluted to a great extent.


7. ‘Mature’ and not ‘Matured’

You’ve often heard people shouting out loud that a certain boy or a girl is ‘matured’. He has matured very quickly can instead be used. But matured should never be used in place of mature. The suffix ‘ed’ should be very carefully used in the context of English grammar.

‘Mature’ and not ‘Matured’

6. Me, myself and I

‘I’ is a pronoun which can only be used when you are talking about yourself. However, when you are referring to yourself while you are speaking, the pronouns ‘me’ and ‘myself’ should be used. And, when you’re talking collectively, you must always come at the end, like ‘my friends and I’. It should never be ‘me and my friends’.

Me, myself and I

5. Bemused

Bemused sounds very much like amused and hence the mistake. It actually means confused or puzzled or perplexed. We’ve heard loads of people use the term bemused in place of amused, but meant amused. Take a cue from this: ‘Mother was bemused at his sudden arrival’. It’s a complete upturn of the meaning. So be very careful from now on!


4. Toward, Afterward and Anyway

We are used to seeing these three words with ‘s’ at the back, isn’t it? But that’s wrong. The correct usage would be ‘…walking toward the tree.’ Anyways is also wrong English. It’s used extensively throughout the world, but you should know that grammatically, it’s incorrect.

Toward, Afterward and Anyway

3. ‘Supposed to’ and Not ‘suppose to’

It’s always ‘supposed to’ or ‘used too’ instead of ‘suppose to’ or ‘use to’ respectively. When you are talking about something which happened in the past, you have to put ‘ed’ after the verb. This is of course, not in the case of tense. So while you speak, do take note of it.

‘Supposed to’ and Not ‘suppose to’

2. Lie versus Lay

To lie down and to lay something on a table are very different. However, very often they are misused and used in place of each other. This is a common mistake made by people trying to speak in a hurry. You cannot really ‘lie’ something unless you’re talking about someone.

Lie versus Lay

1. ‘Tensed’ is wrong, it’s ‘Tense’

This is perhaps the most commonly misused word. It’s used too often by celebs and politicians. The past, present and future tense of the word ‘tense’ is tense and not ‘tensed’. For example: Wrong usage would be ‘I was much tensed throughout the match’. There is nothing called ‘tensed’. You can only be tense or have been tense or will be tense. Nothing else.


‘Tensed’ is wrong, it’s ‘Tense’

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