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Tip 33: Nonstandard English

The word or phrase

Why it’s nonstandard

Say this instead


The prefix Ir- and suffix -less both mean ‘without,’ making ‘irregardless’ a one-word double negative.


Impact (as a verb)

Shortening ‘has an impact on’ to ‘impact’ is a sign of laziness. Some nouns just aren’t ready to be verbs.



Chopping the -ion suffix off a noun doesn’t always make it a verb. ‘Converse’ says the same thing in fewer letters.


 In route

The intended phrase comes from the French ‘en route,’ meaning ‘on the way.’

En route

Could of, would of, should of

In speech, few people can hear the difference between ‘could have’ and ‘could of.’ In writing, ‘could of’ is noticeably wrong.

Could have, would have, should have

More/most importantly

‘Importantly’ is an adverb, as is ‘more importantly.’ When a word modifies an entire independent clause, rather than just the verb, it acts as an adjective. So when people use ‘more importantly’ to begin a sentence, they’re using an adverb to do an adjective’s job. Use the adjective form instead.

More/most important

Try and

‘Try’ is almost always a transitive verb, meaning you have to try ‘something,’ whether it be a noun, gerund, or infinitive verb. ‘And’ is a coordinating conjunction; it doesn’t work.

Try to

One of the only

This phrase is used when talking about one member of a small group. ‘Only’ means ‘excluding all others,’ while ‘few’ means ‘a small group.’ Which sounds more appropriate?

One of the few