Posted by: Jack Henry | October 2, 2018

Editor’s Corner: 5 English Phrases You Might Be Getting Wrong

I recently read an article about five English phrases that even native speakers get wrong. I love articles like this because they give us the opportunity to learn without the embarrassment of being called out in person for our mistakes. Yes, I am speaking from personal experience.

When I was in college, speaking to an English professor about one of my term papers, I pointed out a section of my paper that still needed to be “flushed out.” Without the slightest smirk or condescension, my professor informed me that I meant to say, “fleshed out” and explained that I wanted to bulk it up by adding information; I did not want to flush it down the toilet. Lesson learned. I never made that mistake again, and I’m very aware now when I hear others make the same mistake. But I also learned not to judge. Sometimes, we just get it wrong.

The phrase “flesh out” is not one of the five phrases mentioned in the article I read. It’s a bonus for you. I’m giving you six for the price of five! Here are the 5 English Phrases Even Native Speakers Get Wrong:

Correct Phrase Incorrect Phrase Explanation
Free rein Free reign To give someone free rein is to give that person significant leeway to act as he or she pleases.
Beck and call Beckon call To be at someone’s beck and call is to be readily available at a moment’s notice.
Bear with me Bare with me If you ask someone to bear with you, you are asking for patience from that person.
All of a sudden All of the sudden This phrase is a popular English idiom, and it functions as an adverb, similar to the word suddenly.
Make do Make due To make something do is to manage with limited or inadequate means.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Documentation Services

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