19 Generally Misused Phrases and Phrases to Keep away from to Be a Higher Communicator
It all comes down to using the right words. Using wrong words can be even more important.
Especially when you are trying to convey the seriousness of your message. Making a good impression. To get the focus on the meaning of what you are writing or saying instead of losing that focus due to your pronunciation.
After all, just one word misused can ruin everything.
Unfair? Absolutely – but no less true.
Here are a few ways to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.
Simple and easy
Simple sounds more chic than simple. (Just like closets sound fancier than closets.)
Unfortunately not. Simple means treating a complex problem, situation, or problem more simply than justified. While you might think it sounds cool to tell your co-workers that you’ve come up with a simplified solution to a long-term problem, what you’re really saying is that after giving little thought to the problem, you clap the band-aid.
Simple rule of thumb? Just use it as a form of praise. Use simplistic when you feel that not enough thoughts have been applied.
And never say “too simple”. That is, something is too easy.
First come first served and first come first served
While first come first served present or future tense, it also means that the first to come is the first to perform a ministry. (Which makes sense; if I show up at work first, I’ll probably be the first to help clients.)
If you want to specify the order in which you serve the people, use first come, first serve.
And make sure you stick with it: Few things annoy customers more than when others have to queue.
Rate and evaluate
Rating has a specific meaning: to determine the value of an item. (Usually by someone licensed or certified to perform this assessment.)
Apprise is a fancy way of saying “inform”. For example: “Please note that you wrote” Do Diligence “instead of” Due Diligence “.”
So don’t use it. Instead of saying, “I need to let you know …”, just say, “I need to let you know …”
Because simple – not simple – always wins.
Due Diligence and Do Diligence
A friend of a startup founder who had investment offers from VC firms recently forwarded an email from someone who said he should “exercise due diligence on the company’s financial information.”
Innocent – or autocorrect – mistake or not: “When you screw something like this up,” he said, “you obviously don’t know what you’re doing.”
Diligence is a noun. The VC company cannot “do” that.
However, they can do due diligence by doing a full assessment of the business to identify its assets and liabilities and assess its economic potential.
Home and sharpen
Granted, it obviously makes sense to say that you will find a solution. Sharpening means sharpening, refining or perfecting. That’s why a lot of people use hone in.
Still, if you are looking for a solution, channel your inner dove and get involved.
I couldn’t care less and I could care less
To say I might care less means that I care to some extent; otherwise there would be no place for less worries.
If you want to say that you don’t care at all, say that I couldn’t care less.
Or better yet, just say you don’t care.
In relation to and in relation to
I still find myself messing this up.
Correct usage is related to. For example, “With respect to your proposal (or your proposal), the next step is to due diligence on your product’s capabilities.”
Or better still, “We’re interested, but we’d like to do some tests before we sign.”
Ensure and insure
Make sure you have funds to ensure. “I’ll make sure that is done.” Insurance refers to insurance.
When you promise that an order will be shipped on time, make sure it will. If you compensate the buyer if the package is lost or damaged, insure it.
So don’t use insurance unless your promise includes compensation rather than an effort.
Discrepancy, disparity and dichotomy
Let’s end with a triple.
Disparity means a significant difference between things that can be measured. There is still a difference in salaries for men and women doing the same job. Inequality in access to health care persists in underserved communities.
Discrepancy means a lack of compatibility or similarity between two or more things. There may be a discrepancy between your bank balance and the number in QuickBooks.
Dichotomy refers to the contrast between two things that are completely different or opposite. You may notice a dichotomy between two people’s leadership styles.
Use disparity to describe a difference (usually an unfair one). Use discrepancies to point out obvious inaccuracies or conflicting accounts.
However, do not use a dichotomy. “Difference” works. “Big difference” works. “Quite the opposite” too.
Because here too, simple – not simple – is almost always the best way to communicate.
The opinions expressed by Inc.com columnists here are their own, not those of Inc.com.