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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 courtesy of Girls at Work

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Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

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When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

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More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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