“For All Intensive Purposes” and Other Misconceptions

We all have them: those little pet peeves that irk us to no end. Theater-talkers, loud chewers, line-cutters, etc. When you’re confronted with their behavior, it’s all you can do to contain yourself, roll your eyes and go about your day.

In the world of content marketing, these offences take a different form, consisting primarily of misused words or phrases. The effect, however, is still the same: skin-crawling, eye-rolling, general distraction.

The problem comes when these slip-ups occur in content that carries your name, because then the consequences are more than just social. The slightest misstep can end up having a negative impact on your future business and your reputation as an industry leader. For all intents and purposes, a misused “farther” can follow you further than you think.

To help you learn from their mistakes, we’ve compiled a list of some of the more commonly misused words and phrases people write.

“For all intents and purposes”

Just because it sounds like “for all intensive purposes” when you say it doesn’t mean you should write it. What is an “intensive purpose” anyway? We’re not sure either.

Farther or Further

Despite popular belief, the two words are not interchangeable. “Farther” refers to physical distance, while “further” refers to a figurative distance. So when someone says, “I can throw a football farther than Peyton Manning,” you know that what they’re saying could not be further from the truth.

Irregardless

“Irregardless” is not a real word, but the horrible hybrid combination of “regardless” and “irrespective.” Stick to “regardless” and leave the superfluous prefixes alone.

Less or Fewer

Again, not interchangeable. “Less” refers to undefined quantities that can’t be counted and “fewer” refers to numbers. “There were less people at the game today” should instead read “There were fewer people at the game today” because people can be counted.

Lie or Lay

“Lie” means to recline and “lay” is to put something somewhere. So the next time you plan on relaxing, correctly declaring “I’m going to go lie on the couch” should help you to avoid any confusion (that is unless you are not known for telling the truth).

Of course there are countless more examples of misused words and phrases (“supposed to” and not “suppose to,” “mine” and not “mines,” “nauseous” vs. nauseated,” etc.), but you get the picture. If you need help bringing that picture into focus and making sure your message is as clear as it can be, we’re always happy to lend a critical eye.