9 words and phrases even the smartest among us are guilty of misusing.

In a resolution offered in early March, Missouri state Rep. Tracy McCreery (D) urged her colleagues in the House to stop using the word "physical" when they mean "fiscal."

Yes, the Missouri legislature has important work to do. And yes, this may seem like a joke or the petty whining of a grammar grouch, but McCreery is serious. This was her last resort.


The resolution and its author, Rep. Tracy McCreery. Images via Missouri House of Representatives.

"I did it because I hit a wall," she told Missouri's Riverfront Times.

"I feel like the word 'fiscal' is just very critical to doing our job properly," she later told The Washington Post. "And I feel like that's a word that we should be cognizant of pronouncing correctly."

But McCreery's fellow representatives in the Missouri House aren't alone. We're all guilty of misusing words or phrases.

Even the smartest among us make innocuous errors, sometimes without even realizing it. And while most of us won't be called out by a statewide proposition, what better time than now to nip a few other common mistakes in the bud. (Yes, bud — not butt.)

Here are nine words and phrases that often trip people up.

1. I could care less vs. I couldn't care less.

You use this phrase when you just cannot muster any additional concern for the issue at hand. So when you've reached the bottom of your care well, and there is nowhere left to go, you could not care less.

Use it correctly in a sentence:

"Call me crazy, but I couldn't care less that Melissa McCarthy is sitting out the 'Gilmore Girls' reboot."


GIF via "Gilmore Girls."

2. Irregardless vs. regardless

Regardless already means "without regard." So irregardless, while a word, isn't the one you're looking for.

Use it correctly in a sentence:

"Regardless of how many times I've seen it, if 'Sister Act 2' is on TV, I'm going to watch it."


GIF via "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit."

3. Statue of limitations vs. statute of limitations

A statue of limitations doesn't exist. Unless a ceramicist finally made a sculpture of me trying to fold a king-size fitted sheet by myself.

Use it correctly in a sentence:

"I finally admitted that I stole the cookies from the cookie jar, as my preschool crime spree is outside the statute of limitations."


GIF via "Sesame Street."

4. For all intensive purposes vs. for all intents and purposes.

If you're not used to this one, it just seems wrong. It makes you sound like a pompous jerk. The kind of person who says, "Uhh, Frankenstein was the name of the doctor, you're thinking of Frankenstein's monster." But English is a weird and wonderful language, and intents and purposes is the right way to say it.

Use it correctly in a sentence:

"For all intents and purposes, Beyoncé is the only reason I bothered getting out of bed today."

5. Sneak peak vs. sneak peek

A peak is the top of a mountain. A peek is a glance at something. Unless Denali is tip-toeing behind you, you didn't get a sneak peak of anything. Even the White House made this mistake, so if you're guilty of this one, you're in good company.

Use it correctly in a sentence:

"I got a sneak peek of the new Batman movie, but this GIF had a better plot."


6. Luxuriant vs. luxurious

You take a sip of fine wine, poured from an actual bottle, rest your feet on a non-IKEA coffee table, and relax. This is the good life, a truly luxuriant experience. NOT SO FAST, MONEY BAGS. Though they sound very similar, luxuriant means lush, abundant, and prolific. You're thinking of the word luxurious, which means magnificent, well-appointed, and elegant.

Use it correctly in a sentence:

"Her jaunty cap was quite luxurious, albeit ridiculous."


GIF via "Parks and Recreation."

7. Should of vs. should've

Yes, they sound the same. But no, they don't mean the same thing. Should've is the contraction of "should have." The same goes for could've and would've too.

Use it correctly in a sentence:

"I should've asked what pizza toppings you wanted, but I really like pepperoni, and I was afraid you'd want vegetables."

8. Everyday and every day

This word and phrase both have a place in your vocabulary. The trick is to make sure you're using them at the right place and time. Everyday means commonplace, ordinary, or routine while every day means each new unit of 24 hours.

Use it correctly in a sentence:

"Going bowling was an everyday activity in Springfield, until one daring woman brought her cat."


GIF via "The Simpsons."

"He wore the same outfit every day: shirt, slacks, and the largest unicorn mask he could find."

9. Mute vs. moot (vs. moo)

A mute point occurs when you're watching basketball with the sound off. The phrase you're probably thinking of is moot point — or if you're a "Friends" fan, a moo point.

Use it correctly in a sentence:

"I told the bartender I could fit the entire garnish tray in my mouth, but since I'm calling you from jail, it's a moot point."


GIF via "Orange Is the New Black."

English is a tricky language. Mistakes, flubs, and slips are bound to happen.

There's no shame in making a harmless error, but learning more about these words and phrases and their proper uses can prevent plenty of embarrassing (and resolution-worthy) moments.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."