Skip To Content

    21 People Who Really, Really Thought They Were Saying The Right Thing

    Oops, my b.

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community what common phrases they grew up saying wrong their whole lives. Here are some of the best (and funniest) responses:

    1. It's "gung-ho," not "gun-ho."


    "I've been saying 'gun-ho' instead of 'gung-ho' for years. I only realized I was wrong when I saw it on a book cover."


    2. It's "play it by ear," not "play it by year."


    "My friend says 'play it by year' instead of 'play it ear.' She says it makes more sense to say 'year' because it is an actual measurement of time."


    3. It's "dog-eat-dog world," not "doggy dog world."

    Columbia Pictures

    "I thought it was 'doggy dog world' until I was watching Modern Family. Gloria said it that way, and she was told it's 'dog-eat-dog.' I said it wrong for years and never knew."


    4. It's "the coast is clear," not "the ghost is clear."

    Comedy Central

    "I recently found out the real saying is 'the coast is clear.' I always thought it was the 'ghost is clear,' like if you saw someone and they weren't there anymore, then then the ghost is clear!"


    5. It's "chest of drawers," not "Chester drawers."


    "Until I was older than I'm proud to admit, I thought it was 'Chester drawers' — as if it was made from some kind of wood called Chester — instead of 'chest of drawers.'"


    6. It's "your Sunday best," not "your Sunday vest."

    Comedy Central

    "My boyfriend went the first 23 years of his life thinking the phrase was 'your Sunday vest' instead of 'your Sunday best.' I thought he was just making a play on words until he couldn't figure out why I was laughing so hard."


    7. It's "an old wives' tale," not "an old wise tale."

    TV Land

    "I have always thought it was 'an old wise tale' instead of 'an old wives' tale.'"


    8. It's "for all intents and purposes," not "for all intensive purposes."


    "I JUST found out that it was 'for all intents and purposes' instead of "intensive purposes.' It makes a lot more sense now."


    9. It's "up and at 'em," not "up and Adam."

    Roc-A-Fella Records

    "I used to think 'up and at 'em' was 'up and Adam,' which still sounds the same but makes absolutely no sense...but I still continue to say it."


    10. It's "pay-per-view," not "paper view."


    "It's 'pay-per-view' instead of 'paper view,' which I thought it was up until yesterday."


    11. It's "from the get go," not "from the gecko."


    "I've heard someone say 'from the gecko' instead of 'from the get go.' Cracked me up!"


    12. It's "half-assed," not "half-fast."


    "When I was younger, I truly believed that my mom told me I did everything 'half-fast.' I had no idea until I told my teacher that I would turn in my assignment in a minute because I was doing it 'half-fast.' I thought I was telling her I was taking my time. She about died laughing. Half-ASSED. The phrase is HALF-ASSED."


    13. It's "flesh out," not "flush out."

    BBC One

    "I always said let's 'flush out' this idea, not realizing what I meant was 'flesh out.' Apparently the former means get rid of, while the latter means develop. No wonder my meeting minutes never made sense to others!"


    14. It's "straight and narrow," not "straightened arrow."


    "I have a friend who thought the phrase was 'straightened arrow' instead of 'straight and narrow.'"


    15. It's "blip on the radar," not "blimp on the radar."


    "My brother-in-law says 'blimp on the radar' instead of 'blip on the radar.'"


    16. It's "taken for granted," not "taken for granite."

    Interscope Records

    "I have an aunt who says 'taken for granite' instead of 'granted.' I only realized this when she wrote it in a Facebook status."


    17. It's "haphazard," not "half-hazard."


    "My husband always says 'half-hazard' instead of 'haphazard.' But I like it because it's like 'half-assed' and 'haphazard' combined!"


    18. It's "rest assured," not "rest to sure."


    "A friend told me, 'Rest to sure, everything will work out fine.'"


    19. It's "in layman's terms," not "in lame man's terms."


    "I had been saying 'in lame man's terms' instead of 'in layman's terms.' I mean, to me it made sense since you were putting the phrase in a way that a lame man could understand, LOL."


    20. It's "prima donna," not "pre-Madonna."


    "My whole life I thought the phrase was 'pre-madonna' and not 'prima donna.'"


    21. It's "quote, unquote," not "quote on quote."


    I used to say, and I quote, "quote on quote" instead of "quote, unquote"


    Want to be featured in similar BuzzFeed posts? Follow the BuzzFeed Community on Facebook and Twitter.

    Note: submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form