Words and phrases you MUST get right in your job application

Thursday 22 May, 2014

Just because you’ve read them, heard them or even said them for half of your life, doesn’t mean they’re right. Some words and phrases are so frequently misused by Australians that most of the younger generation has grown up either using words incorrectly or using words that don’t actually exist in the English language at all. Below are a few that really get on the nerves of employers when they’re assessing a candidate for a job, so make sure you’re using them as you should.

1. Specific, not pacific.

Specific is used when referring to something that is clearly identified, particular or defined, such as the specific criteria of a job profile. Pacific criteria would, on the other hand, mean criteria that are at peace, calm or tranquil. It’s unlikely this is what you’re trying to say.

2. Infer and Imply

These ones are often used interchangeably but shouldn’t. They are not synonyms. To imply is to suggest without actually stating the exact point. To infer is to come to a conclusion based on what someone has said. The speaker implies something with whatever he or she says to the other, whereas the person being spoken to then infers a meaning from these words.

3. Regardless not irregardless

This one is simple. Regardless is a word. Irregardless is not … even if Gretchen Weiners uses it in Mean Girls. It may actually have been used back in the 19th century but today it’s considered incorrect.

4. For all intents and purposes, not for all intensive purposes

This is one of the most commonly incorrectly used phrases, probably because it’s very hard to hear the difference. 

5. Literally

This word is used all the time, but most of the time it’s used in the wrong way.  Actually, it’s often used to the opposite effect of its true meaning. Somehow, over the past decade in particular, people have started using literally as a form of exaggeration.

“I was so shocked … I literally jumped out of my skin.” No you did not. When most people use literally, they actually should be using figuratively. Figuratively means metaphorically, where literally means that it actually happened. As far as we know, no human has ever actually jumped out of their skin from shock.

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