Appropriate punishments for commonly misused words

All right. That’s it. Enough is enough.
(Shutterstock / sirtravelalot)

All right. That's it. Enough is enough. Between books, major motion pictures in which people tend to like, speak, the entire internet, and the thousands of people around you who are supposed to love you enough to correct you when you sound like a weird drunk toddler, there is straight-up no reason for anyone in 2018 to be misusing these very basic words and expressions in such grotesquely warped ways. As a society, we have tolerated this long enough. Here are some harsh but fair punishments to befit the most egregious of word crimes – which, you can't hear, obviously, but I insist on pronouncing as "WARD CREEMS". Just kidding. I'm not a monster.


"One years old"

What's that? Do I want to see a photo of your adorable niece who just turned one years old? YES BUT UNFORTUNATELY I'LL BE TOO BUSY SMACKING YOUR PHONE RIGHT OUT OF YOUR HAND.

PUNISHMENT: The Barenaked Ladies have agreed to record a version of their hit song called "One Weeks". You will be forced to listen to it on a loop for ten days. Sorry!



Given the way coffee forces your bloodstream onto a fun superhighway, this mispronunciation is oddly poetic for about four nanoseconds before immediately becoming just so annoying.

PUNISHMENT: You will be forced to stand in a Starbucks line of 71 people for a period of one month. It never moves. You are not allowed to bring your phone, so as to encourage you to reflect on what you did.



"I'm so lucky to be apart of this family!!!" you post on your Facebook, mortally wounding the people you love most on this earth. Whoops!

PUNISHMENT: Two weeks alone in the wilds of Mongolia during the middle of February. Enjoy the time being apart of your family!



Nope. Shut it down.

PUNISHMENT: The Government of Canada will legally add quotation marks around your full name, and update your driver's license, birth certificate, and passport accordingly. You will be expected to cover the fees.


"For all intensive purposes"

AND AND AND. Tattoo it on your face if you have to: Intents. And. Purposes.

PUNISHMENT: You will be forced to tread water among twelve thousand intense porpoises for 36 hours. They're very hungry, it's mating season, and they're shrieking at top volume. Bring a granola bar! Maybe a book!


"Take it for granite"

I'm sorry, do you regularly get your good health and your kitchen counters mixed up?? On what planet does this make any sense??

PUNISHMENT: You will be encased in a cold slab of rock for eight hours. Like a human fossil! Once you live through THAT, you'll never again assume that you're automatically entitled to your freedom. Ugh, if only there were a phrase that expressed that idea concisely.



I get it, it's confusing: there IS a "C" elsewhere in the word. Does it come after the "E" though? No. Reading is great!

PUNISHMENT: We have your Grade 1 teacher on retainer for the next six weeks. She will stand over your bed every night while you are sleeping and loudly whisper over and over and over, "SOUND IT OUT".




PUNISHMENT: Walk the plank. We'll pick you up in a rowboat tomorrow. MAYBE.



What?? This sounds like some kind of '90s astronaut cartoon character on YTV. Stop it.

PUNISHMENT: No punishment*

*Just kidding. A huge one.

*What pacifically are we talking about here? It's a surprise.



Saying "anyways" is a great way to let the world know you're seven years old and willing to sit with Travis at recess.

PUNISHMENT: You will spend the entire upcoming school year sitting with Travis at recess. Travis is 8, he gets nosebleeds every 20-25 minutes, and he talks about triceratops literally nonstop. If he is conscious, he's talking about them. Listen, I really can't overstate this: when it comes to Travis and triceratops, there is no "anyways". Ever.

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About the Author

Sophie Kohn


Sophie Kohn is writer and producer with CBC Comedy, a stand-up comedian in Toronto, and a graduate of Second City's Conservatory program.