Look, we’re going to have to be honest at the start of this article: all of us, from time to time, spectacularly butcher the English language! Unintentionally, of course — but it happens. For instance, how long have you been slightly mispronouncing the following common words and phrases? We bet it’s long enough for it to be a little embarrassing. Never fear, though: we’ll have you speakin’ England real good after reading this list!
1. “A whole nother” vs “A whole other/Another”
Have you ever been gossiping with your friend about something scandalous, and then they bring up another juicy thing, to which you say, “That’s a whole nother story!” Here’s the thing: “a whole nother” is a nonsense phrase.
What’s a “nother?” Nothing, that’s what — and you shouldn’t be gossiping anyway! Instead of making up words that don’t exist, you could say, “That’s a whole other story!” or even, “That’s another story entirely!”
2. “Should of” vs “Should have/Should’ve”
Look, we’ve all probably been guilty of saying we “should of” done something. It’s a grammatical nightmare, though, and it has only became commonplace over time because it sounds similar to “should’ve,” which is actually the correct thing to say.
“Should’ve” is a contraction of “should have,” in which “have” is a verb, otherwise known as an action word. That’s what you’re really trying to get across: you should have done something.
3. “Day in age” vs “Day and age”
If you’re anything like us, you’ve heard older family members utter the phrase, “Kids in this day in age have it too easy.” It’s frustrating, yes, but also factually inaccurate. Life in the modern age ain’t exactly a bed of roses! The world is on fire, after all.
Regardless, if an elder ever says this to you, simply counter with, “It’s day and age, you silly, not day in age!” That should make for a fun family dinner.
4. “Insure” vs “Ensure/Assure”
If you want to make sure someone does something, you would “insure” they do it, right? Wrong! You’re actually trying to “ensure” it. “Insure” should only be used in the context of insurance: as in, you’re “insuring” someone against loss.
Similarly, if you want to give someone positive affirmation of something, you’re not “insuring” them that they’re the best or that everything will be okay, you’re “assuring” them. Make sense?