Have you ever heard someone say – or have you said yourself – “I could care less”? Good news! That really means you do care a lot!
The phrase is actually “I couldn’t care less,” meaning you really don’t care at all. Of course, it’s better if you care more, but you should choose the appropriate phrase based on the situation.
That’s one of the problems with clichés (there are so many!), that people often get them wrong after using and abusing them for so long.
Some others you might want to be aware of, if you insist on using them:
Are you waiting with baited breath? Did you just eat a fish or a worm? Um, no? Then you are actually waiting with bated breath. Bated originated from abate, meaning to stop or lesson, and is an adjective meaning suspense. When you are waiting with bated breath, you are holding your breath in anticipation.
For all intensive purposes, this is designed to help you communicate better. You may be intense about wanting to learn. Who wouldn’t be? However, for all intents and purposes, the phrase should be used correctly. For all intents and purposes is a shortened version of a phrase from English law that dates back to the 1500s: “to all intents, constructions, and purposes.”
Doing good and doing well. An English professor once advised his freshman class that they would do well if they were to do good. Doing good is what you want on Random Acts of Kindness Day. You give to others, you help others, you do good for others. When you do that, you are doing well in your pursuit of generosity and kindness.
So, are you going to try and use these phrases correctly? Or are you going to try to do just that? When you try and do something, you’re doing two things – trying and doing. When you try to do something, you’re moving forward with your goal.
Now, are you bemused or amused? Maybe both? You may be bewildered (bemused) at this point or you may have actually enjoyed (been amused) by all of this.
Are your words working for you?