Admittedly for most of us, English is not a first language and as such we do not put much emphasis on getting it all right. For the individual who is using English language in business circles and aiming to get farther faster however, a good grasp of English is often a big help.
Some expressions are widely used to convey our feelings on particular matters, unfortunately some of them are constantly forced to undergo the pains of incorrect usage.
This misuse of English expressions could prove detrimental for the speaker when conversing with an accomplished speaker, as it will either confuse them or make you the butt of subsequent jokes.
Here are some commonly misused English expressions, we hope they help;
It’s a doggy-dog world Vs. It’s a dog-eat-dog world
Anyone who has tried to explain an injustice exerted on a group of people or a person by another human being has probably encountered the English expression; it’s a “dog-eat-dog world” and it simply intends to convey the message that people are merciless and will do anything to their own kind to get to the top.
Some people however express it as it’s a “doggy-dog world”, an expression that honestly conveys almost no meaning.
Mute point Vs. Moot point
A “moot point” intended to express that a person’s point is debatable or doubtful is often rendered as a “mute point”, since mute means incapable of speech, the user would in essence be expressing that the person is making a silent point. The word moot is a better descriptive choice and more clearly conveys the message.
Tow the Line Vs. Toe the Line
To understand this point, it is necessary to point out that this idiomatic expression arose from the military, it is thought to mean the practice of arranging one’s feet on a line for inspection. In essence to put one’s toe on a line to be examined for a certain standard. So when someone uses this English expression, its often as a reference to keeping to standard, rather than dragging things along a line which is what ‘tow the line’ implies.
Take a different tact Vs. Take a different tack
Taking a different tack is a sailing metaphor which refers to changing the direction of a sailing vehicle by shifting the sails and turning the bow into the wind. So when you want to convey that there has been a change in the direction of a project, you employ it. Tact is a reference for manners so except you plan to change your manners in social situations, the correct usage is “take a different tack.”
Peak/Peek my curiosity Vs. Pique my curiosity
Peak refers to the top of something and would involve a climb whereas peek refers to sneakily gazing at something, so since you can neither climb upon nor gaze at someone’s curiosity, either of those usages are wrong. You pique a person’s curiosity, which in essence means stimulating it.