Special Report

Words People Get Wrong All the Time

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37. Literally

Literally literally means actually, but people often use it when they mean figuratively, which is something entirely different. We’ve all heard statements like, “I literally laughed my head off,” or “I literally died with embarrassment.”

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38. Lose and Loose

Lose means suffer a loss or defeat or misplace something. Loose as a verb means to set free and as an adjective means unrestrained.

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39. Nuclear

Nuclear is incorrectly pronounced “nucular” by some people, including former President George W. Bush and oafish cartoon character Homer Simpson.

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40. Peak and Peek and Pique

A peak is the top of something, such as a mountain. To peek means to look briefly or glance at. Pique can mean to stimulate interest, but it can also mean to upset somebody. We hope we have piqued your interest and not piqued you.

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41. Perpetrate and Perpetuate

Perpetrate means to commit or carry out something, such as a crime. Perpetuate means to prolong the existence of, possibly forever.

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