Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago · 2 min. reading time · 0 ·

Renée 🐝 blog
Eight Things People Say That Make Them Seem Stupid

Eight Things People Say That Make Them Seem Stupid


I’m going to put my English teacher’s hat on, again today. I like helping people create the best impression, so I often feel compelled to show others how to be better speakers and writers. Today’s post is all about those words and expressions we hear people say that are either mispronounced, misused or not real words at all.

Snuck: English speaking North Americans use this term all the time as the past tense of sneak, but it is not a real word. It is considered a non-standard form because the past tense of "sneak" is actually "sneaked". Consider: “He sneaked into his sister’s room and stole her iPod.”

Doggy dog: This phrase is a misuse of the phrase, “dog-eat-dog” which refers to highly competitive behaviour (notice the Canadian/ British spelling of behaviour). Unless you are referring to a rap singer, please use the correct, three word form. Consider the common statement: “It is a dog-eat-dog world out there.”

All Timers/ Old Timers: I really hate when I hear this. Alzheimer’s Disease is a disease which causes premature dementia. It was named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer; the German doctor who discovered it. Never get caught sounding uneducated.

Expresso: This word will come with some debate. The original word for the well-known brewed Italian coffee is “espresso”. The letter “x” appeared in the media as a misspelling and stuck, so now it can be interpreted as being an alternate form. Know- it-all types like me, however, will always mentally cringe and correct. You will never go wrong saying it with the “s”, but the “x” may cause someone to question your intelligence.

For all intensive purposes: This is an especially irritating thing I hear people say. The phrase is supposed to be, “for all intents and purposes”. It means exactly what it says. If you use the word, “intensive”, the phrase loses its meaning. What is an intensive purpose supposed to be?

Prostrate vs. Prostate: There is a time to bend over and a time to have your prostate checked. The body part is the prostate and is susceptible to cancer. If you are told to prostrate, then you should at least be bent forward at the waist.  In order to have your prostate checked, you will need to prostrate. Get it?

Cowobberate: If you say it quickly and keep talking, maybe nobody will notice you mispronounced the word, “corroborate” which is a term we use when we want to verify information. The police often look for witnesses to corroborate statements made during an investigation. Unless you are Elmer Fudd, there is no excuse for mispronouncing this word.

Gorilla Marketing: This one really makes be laugh. You have to listen carefully to hear it, but when it is written, it is very clearly incorrect.  I see it written this way once in a while (once on a marketing site), and it is always wrong. The correct term is “Guerilla Marketing”. It is called “Guerilla Marketing” because it refers to a marketing tactic. Gorillas are animals and unless you are marketing in a gorilla costume, you need to use the word, “guerilla”.

Have you been making any of these mistakes? Time to start practicing correct speech. Being able to speak eloquently and deliver a succinct message will always give people a favourable impression of you and your business.

Renée Cormier is a Public Relations and Communications Professional, published author, and sales and marketing strategist. Need help with your marketing communications or your public reputation? Visit to contact.

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Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #20

Yes, Carolyn Kiel, that is a common one. That's probably because they don't even know what a gambit is.
Luckily, Carolyn Kiel, probably no one will notice. It's a tough word to use correctly; I'm not sure I always do either.

Kevin Pashuk

6 years ago #18

Enjoyed the post Renee Cormier. As a 'grammar particularian' I appreciate you sharing these common misuses (or massacres) of our language. I did not appreciate you resurrecting my irrational fear of proctologists. You know they'll get you in the end.

Wayne Yoshida

6 years ago #17

Hmm. I was thinking of the Ted Nugent song --

Wayne Yoshida

6 years ago #16

The kid's telephone game!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #15

Sneak, snuck, have snucked? Ha!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #14

Idioms class, eh? Well I'm going to play the devils advocate here and say that someone may be barking up the wrong tree. Once in a blue moon someone will try to steal your thunder and out idiom you. Is that possible? Well, I heard through the grapevine that you sometimes bite off more than you can chew. :)

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #13

It would seem ignorance is not terribly selective, @ Andrea Luquesi Scott.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #12

Supposibly really drives me bats, Wayne Yoshida!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #11

#10 #14 Snuck is a tough one because it is so prevalent. Even I hear myself use it on occasion. Eeek!

Lisa Gallagher

6 years ago #10

I've been guilty of using 'snuck,' which my grammarly didn't catch LOL. If I'm using word it will catch it with spellcheck! Interesting list.

Nick Mlatchkov

6 years ago #9

"Doggy dog" is incorporated in a nickname - Snoop Doggy Dog!
Excellent buzz Renee Cormier. Your article reminds me of when someone whispers something in another person's ear, and what was said goes from one person to the next, and it is not the same when it gets to the last person. We repeat what we hear without determining if it's correct.
I am familiar with most of those horrors, Renee Cormier, but I never heard cowobberate before! That one cracks me up!

Wayne Yoshida

6 years ago #6

Just for fun, we can plug Renee Cormier 's post into the Dialectizer, and see what happens. Here are some other words and phrases that will make your eyes roll into your head and the hairs at the back of your neck tingle: "Can I axe a question?" "Irregardless" "Obliterate" "Supposibly"

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #5

Glad you approve, Mark Anthony!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #4


Pascal Derrien

6 years ago #3

point taken the thing is I don't really like to have a monkey on my back :-)

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #2

@Pascal Derrien, it only exists if you are handing out brochures in a gorilla costume!

Pascal Derrien

6 years ago #1

Gorilla Marketing that's a good one you are sure it does not exist :-)

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