For some grammar enthusiasts, few things are more annoying than non-words. People use them as if they’re completely valid, even though they aren’t.
We encounter plenty of “non-words” every day. The problem is too many people seem to be unaware that they aren’t actually words.
Here are 11 words that aren’t really words (though one of them seems to be debatable).
This non-word is the result of trying to cram two small words into one small word. Don’t do it. Use “a lot” instead.
Same as above. “Alright” isn’t “all right.” I’m guilty of this one from time to time myself, but I’m working on it.
The “star” symbol, *, is an asterisk. It ends with a hard -isk sound.
Different reference books disagree over this one, so if you use the word, you should be prepared for a possible fight with an editor. Some sources claim that an author who uses a phrase like “dark-complected,” really means to say “dark-complexioned.”
I see this non-word used incorrectly as a verb more and more often. People who are about to have a conversation are said to be ready to “conversate.” The correct verb is converse.
There’s no X sound. It’s et cetera.
Same as above. There’s no X sound in that first syllable. There’s also no K sound there, either. It’s especially.
This one always angers my mom. The dictionary defines this word as “non-standard,” which is a nice way of telling you that it isn’t a word. Grammarly immediately flags this one: The word anyone who means to use when they say irregardless is regardless. Think of it this way: if regardless means without concern, irregardless would mean “without a lack of concern.” This common error occurs when the writer, no doubt thinking subconsciously of the word “irrespective,” adds the prefix to the wrong word.
This unusual word generally appears in the form “a whole nother.” It’s actually an improper severing of another. Instead of “a whole nother,” one should say either, “another” or “a whole other.”
The extra syllable may create a word that sounds formal, but to someone familiar with the proper word, “orient,” it merely sounds foolish. This extra “-ate” error is the same as the one that creates the non-word “conversate.”
It’s supposedly. There’s no B anywhere in the word.