Mistakes are inevitable. Even the brightest have their own down fall.  The misused English words and phrases are one of the common mistakes we could commit in terms of writing and speaking.

Language, they say, is alive. It is alive for over time, it keeps on evolving; it never stops. And words – these embody language. People use words to create meaningful conversations, express opinions and share information to the rest of the globe. And as the universal language, English stands to have the most number of words. However, there are lots of words or phrases which are often [unknowingly] misused.

In case you need to know some, and openly “re-learn” grammar, here is a list of some misused English words and phrases you can check for yourself.

Sneak peek

Nope, it’s not sneak peak, since “peak” means the topmost part of something. When you mean to take a glimpse or watch short clips of an episode or flick,  sneak peek is used.


“I long to take a sneak peek of the newest movie about superheroes.”

Sneak peek
Let me have a sneak peek!


Advice and Advise

Advice is a noun, while advise is a verb. An advice is one’s point of view or suggestion, while advise means to give an advice. So, when somebody gives you an advice, you are somewhat advised or asked to follow it.


“She gave me such a touching advice.”

“I advise you to take a break from work on Monday.”

On the house

When we say on the house, it means something is free-of-charge. Somebody is telling “It’s my treat!” or “I will pay for this.” Definitely not in the house, which literally means you are inside the house.


It’s my birthday, so all your ordered drinks are on the house!

on the house
The beers are on the house.

Couldn’t care less

Could care less is a phrase that one should consider taking a closer look at. Could care less is a wrong version when all you want to say is you don’t care at all. Blurt out your opinion by properly saying, “I couldn’t care less!”


“I couldn’t care less if some people talk behind my back. I am not affected.”


Hardly is referred to as almost not at all or not happening anymore. It communicates difficulty on something. It does not likely promote a positive encounter.


“I hardly see you in the campus. Are you too busy lately?”

Beneath and underneath

Beneath can act as either a preposition or an adverb that is the same to “under” and “below”. However, beneath stands as more formal than the rest of the mentioned synonyms.

Underneath, on the other hand, is used as an adverb, preposition, or a noun. It is synonymous to beneath, but less formal.


“Her cat always hides beneath the big chair when she has visitors in the house.”

“Sofia and Grace exchanged cosmetics underneath the table.”


Instead of saying self-depreciating, the opted one is self-deprecating. It means putting less emphasis on one’s ability in an amusing way. It can be both a good thing, or a bad one if done excessively.


“Oh no, it’s not me!”, Annie exclaimed with self-deprecation towards their coach.

Spit and image

Spit and image is a phrase from the Bible which means God’s usage of spit and mud to make Adam in his own image. However, “spitting image” has become widely used instead of the original one. It means exact likeness or physical resemblance of somebody with someone (such as in cases of relatives).


“Diana is the spit and image of her mother now that she has fully grown already.”

spit and image
Our beauty is spit and image.

 Queue and Cue

Misuse of the above homonyms is quite common than the rest. Queue is a noun and a verb, depending on its usage. Queue, acting as a noun, means a line or a  sequence, while as a verb, means to line up for something (as in to wait for your turn). Cue can also function as a noun and a verb. As a noun, cue means a signal or prompt. While cue means to remind or to be prompted or to do something when used as a verb.


“The queue is quite long for those wanting to see the concert of the famous international artist.”

“You need a cue so you can remember when to tell your speech.”


Luggage is a word that includes cases, and bags which holds a person’s travel needs. We never say luggages for luggage is considered singular, therefore at its ultimate form. So when travel goals are on your way, make sure to just bring your own luggage. [No added letter s is needed.]


“The machine scanned the luggage of the people before transit.”

There are still many misused English words and phrases in the English language; when we tell stories or catch ourselves feeling many emotions. However, no matter how short or long (or silly-sounding) these words and phrases are, they have to be remembered fully to properly use our universal language. It is time to champion the English language by promoting the right versions and skills, to the next set of “willing-to-learn” people.

What other misused English words and phrases do you know? Comment below.

For more trivial articles, you may check these following posts: Words and Phrases in English that has Portuguese Origin