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A Harvard Linguist Says These Are Some of The Most Commonly Misused Words

10 SEP 2015
Career Path : Education News
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Steven Pinker, Harvard cognitive scientist, has recently released a book that discusses some of the most commonly misused terms and phrases in the English language.

In his book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, Pinker aims to apply insights from the sciences of language and mind to the process of writing. The book is filled with tons of examples of common writing mistakes that people often make.

Here are 3 of the most common mistakes to look out for when writing:


Since they sound the same, many people often confuse this particular word with “amused,” which as Pinker points out in his book, is actually incorrect. Bemused actually means bewildered or puzzled.

How to use it in a sentence: The book’s complicated plot left him bemused.


People often mistake this particular word for an adjective, but it is actually a noun. Therefore, using it in a sentence like This love story is so clichéd (how it is commonly used) is incorrect.

How to use it in a sentence: She couldn’t think of a good wedding toast so she simply said a cliché that she often hears in movies.


The word literally is defined as “adhering to fact.” And while many Millennials have redefined this term to mean figuratively, it should always be used to express actual fact.

How to use it in a sentence: I didn’t mean for you to literally break a leg!


Have you ever misused any of these words?


Source: Business Insider