1. Literally

You will hear this word from many English speakers. The word ‘literally’ means ‘in an exact sense’ or ‘what I’m saying is not exactly what happened but it happened as I’m saying it’. However, when English speakers use it in saying things like ‘I literally died of laughing so hard’ or ‘I was so cold like I was literally in the Antarctic’ are incorrect.

Additionally, due to the extensive way of how this word is used, the Oxford Dictionary has included the informal use of it. It is a word which expresses emphasis.

  1. Whom

‘To who it may concern’ or ‘to whom it may concern’ this word can be very confusing! In the English Language the use of ‘who’ is the subject/person and the use of ‘whom’ is an object.

A quick but effective tip is: when you are asking a question if the answer is ‘with him/her’ then you would use ‘whom’ BUT if the answer is ‘he/she’ then you would use ‘who’.

  1. Colonel

This word is one of those where it is pronounced completely different than it is spelt. The definition of this word is the rank/hierarchy of an officer in the army. When you first look at this word you will think that it is pronounced co-lo-nel, however, it is actually pronounced ‘kernel’ like popcorn ‘kernals’. You may wonder, how is this word spelled so differently? Well apparently, the story behind it is; The French borrowed this word from the Italians and changed the word to ‘coronel’. Then, the English people took the word from the French and switched it to the original spelling. Who would have thought?

  1. Often

This word is such a common term but the majority of us are pronouncing it in the wrong way! The word is actually pronounced off-en, so with a silent ‘T’ but many of us are saying it as ‘off-ten’ which is technically wrong.