"All of the sudden" and Other Mis-used Phrases

When I planned my blog posts for this week, I had no idea yesterday would be such a big day in the world of Mary Catherine's blog. Thank you guys again for all you did to make my Letter to Middle School Girls see enough traffic that the HuffPo editors featured it on the front page. Still kind of surreal. 

That being said, I thought long and hard about whether I should scrap this post and write a new one, as I might have some new followers who are reading my blog for the first time. 

And I said to myself, "Self? What are we gonna do here?" 

Ultimately, I decided to press on and post it anyway. Although I am definitely aware that there's pretty much nothing less likable than a person who corrects your grammar. Jordan tells me regularly that no one cares about this stuff as much as I do, because, and I quote, "English is just not as important as science." 

...I know. I know. Let's just pretend he didn't say that. 

So this one goes out to all my nerds. Walk with me down this road of things that make me want to pull out my hair: 

1. "All of the sudden."

This is actually one that probably every second person in this country uses. The phrase is "all of A sudden," as there is no such thing as "the sudden." That'd be referring to one specific, singular "sudden," which doesn't make much sense if you think about it. (I can already see my husband rolling his eyes.) 

2. "For all intensive purposes." 

So if I'm being totally honest, I said this until about my junior year in college, at which point my friend Wes said, "Um...say that again?" It was horrible and embarrassing, but I haven't mis-pronounced it since. "For all intents and purposes," is the correct one here, which, once again, just makes sense. 

3. "Case and point." 

Listen up all you lawyers. It's actually "Case in point," and is usually used when someone is telling a story that also serves to prove whatever point it is they're making. Take the following story, for example: 

"...and THEN - you guys won't believe it. And THEN he says to me, he says, 'Why are you talking about the rules of the English language all of the sudden? Nobody cares about that. Science is way more important.' I mean, CASE IN POINT, am I right??" 

(I'm right.) 

4. "Nip it in the butt."

Please don't nip anyone's butt. "Nip it in the bud," is what people mean to say - the idea being that if you catch something early on (AKA, "the bud," an early stage), it's easier to handle. Only nip butts if you have written consent. 

5. "I could care less."

Could you?? Could you? I bet that's not what you mean. The correct phrase is, "I COULDN'T care less." If you "could care less," that means you still care a little. Example: 

"English is stupid and science rules." 
"Well, you're a giant goober and I couldn't care less about your opinion on this subject." 

6. "Irregardless." 

This one isn't a phrase, but it does bug. "Regardless" is what people mean to say, but they accidentally double-negative themselves into submission by adding the "ir" at the beginning. I think "irregardless," if it were a word, would translate to "without without regard." And now I'm officially confused. 

7. "Getting off scotch free." 

Gonna be honest, had to look this one up. I know it was "scot(t) free," but I thought it might be spelled like my last name, and I also had no idea where this came from. Turns out. the correct spelling is "scot free" - "scot" is derived from an old Swedish word for "taxes" (skatt), and was popularized by Ralph Waldo Emerson. WHO KNEW?! 

8. "Should of." 

Should have. I feel this one needs no further explanation. Example: 

"Jordan should have been nicer to me because grammar and idioms are important parts of life and now I'm just going to stop correcting him and let him flail around and look foolish."

9. "Less than" vs. "fewer." 

This one is particularly nerdy, but it will make you feel super smart. "Less" is used to refer to something amorphous or unfixed, whereas "fewer" is used when talking about a specific number of things. Example: 

"Jordan, I got fewer than ten likes on this blog post because people think I'm a prissy pain in the ass." 
"That's ten more than I thought you'd get. People probably like you a lot less now." 

10. "Runner-ups" or "sister-in-laws." 

Last one, I promise. So the correct usage here would be "runners-up" and "sisters-in-law." The way to make that work is always to pluralize the noun instead of pluralizing the entire phrase - you're talking about your sisters, not your laws. 

Remember that Gilmore Girls episode where Lorelai finds out that the plural of "cul-de-sac" is "culs-de-sac?" Mmhmm, I do. Because "cul" means "bottom." Right?! It's SO good! Fascinating! Anyone? Anyone?? 

Welp, I wanna go watch Gilmore Girls now and try to pretend like I still have friends after writing this post.