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.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Amelia J / Twitter

Election Day is a special occasion where Americans of all walks of life come together to collectively make important decisions about the country's future. Although we do it together as a community, it's usually a pretty formal affair.

People tend to stand quietly in line, clutching their voter guides. Politics can be a touchy subject, so most usually stand in line like they're waiting to have their number called at the DMV.

However, a group of voters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania received a lot of love on social media on Sunday for bringing a newfound sense of joy to the voting process.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Jody Danielle Fisher / Facebook

Breast milk is an incredibly magical food. The wonderful thing is that it's produced by a collaboration between mother and baby.

British mother Jody Danielle Fisher shared the miracle of this collaboration on Facebook recently after having her 13-month-old child vaccinated.

In the post, she compared the color of her breast milk before and after the vaccination, to show how a baby's reaction to the vaccine has a direct effect on her mother's milk production.

Keep Reading Show less

Ah, the awkward joy of school picture day. Most of us had to endure the unnatural positioning, the bright light shining in our face, and the oddly ethereal backgrounds that mark the annual ritual. Some of us even have painfully humorous memories to go along with our photos.

While entertaining school picture day stories are common, one mom's tale of her daughter's not-picture-perfect school photo is winning people's hearts for a funny—but also inspiring—reason.

Jenny Albers of A Beautifully Burdened Life shared a photo of her daughter on her Facebook page, which shows her looking just off camera with a very serious look on her face. No smile. Not even a twinkle in her eye. Her teacher was apologetic and reassured Albers that she could retake the photo, but Albers took one look and said no way.

Keep Reading Show less