Can You Properly Use These Idioms?


By: Becky

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Think you know how to correctly speak English? Prove it by taking this quiz.

Whether you could or couldn't care less is actually an issue, especially if you are trying to communicate with your fellow humans. The problem with the phrase "I couldn't care less" is that many people say it ... well ... incorrectly. Some people say "I could care less," which actually means that you have more caring to do. If you say that you "couldn't care less," then you are clearly done caring. So, although both of these phrases are grammatically correct, it is important to understand when to use them. If you're done caring, say "I couldn't care less," as in "I could not care less" (think "not " if you really have no more cares to give). If you've got a bit more caring left to do, say "I could care less."

If you know the difference between slight and sleight, have and of, intents and intensive, regardless and irregardless, and jibe and jive, you just might be able to ace this How Stuff Works quiz. We say "might," because we are pretty sure that you will get at least one wrong.

Think you're up to the challenge? Let's get started.

They treated her like a _________.

The phrase should be "they treated her like a scapegoat." If your goats have escaped, please go catch them.


Fall by the _________

The phrase should be "fall by the wayside." We don't want you to go to waste.


I _______ born yesterday.

The phrase is "I wasn't born yesterday." Let's hope you weren't born yesterday, or you wouldn't be taking this quiz!


For all ____________ purposes

The phrase should be "for all intents and purposes." Trust us on this one.


I _______ care less.

The expression is "I couldn't care less." To say that you could care less would mean that you have more caring to do.


Without further _____.

The correct phrase is "without further ado." The word "adieu" means "goodbye" in French.


Nipped in the _____

The correct phrase is "nipped in the bud." This phrase means to stop or catch something while it's still in the early stages, like a flower bud.


That won’t do you ___ good.

The phrase should be "That won't do you any good." To say that it won't do you no good would mean that it would do you some good. Trust us on this.


The ________ of limitations

The phrase should be "the statute of limitations." Limitations don't come in a statue.


A __________ of information

This phrase should be "a repository of information." If you don't believe us, look up the definition of suppository.


She did her ___ diligence.

The correct phrase is "She did her due diligence." It's not likely she did her do.


He is at her _______ call.

The correct phrase is "He is at her beck and call." She may beckon him to come to her, but he's at her beck and call.


To ______________ the globe

The phrase should be "to circumnavigate the globe." Circumvent means to evade or avoid, and the globe is unavoidable.


Her attitude is self-__________.

The phrase should be "her attitude is self-deprecating." Depreciating is a word typically applied to monetary value.


He should ____ gone to school today.

The correct phrase is "He should have gone to school today." Seriously, we shouldn't have to tell you this.


Karen likes to drive fast __________ of the consequences.

The phrase should be "Karen likes to drive fast regardless of the consequences." The word "regardless" means "without regard."


That doesn't _____ with what I learned.

The correct phrase is "that doesn't jibe with what I learned." The word "jibe" means "agree with."


We called all the __________.

The correct phrase is "We called all the runners up." Sounds weird, but take our word for it.


He got off _____ free.

The correct phrase is "He got off scot free." Let's hope that you don't need to free Scott.


She waited with _____ breath.

The correct phrase is "She waited with bated breath." We're assuming that you're in suspense, not catching fish.


Case ___ point

The correct phrase is "case in point." Please don't point your case; make it.


She gets hunger _____ at lunch time.

The correct phrase is "She gets hunger pangs." Pangs are not particularly painful.


I ain’t got ____ time for supper.

The phrase should be "I ain't got any time for supper." However, if you want to really speak well, say "I have no time for supper."


I'm doing _____, thank you.

The correct phrase is "I'm doing well, thank you." Missionaries do good, you are doing well.


That's a ____ point.

The correct phrase is "That's a moot point." Mute means silent; moot means open to discussion.


She types _______ than 15 words per minute.

The correct phrase is "She types fewer than 15 words per minute." If you can count it, use "fewer," not "less."


She's on ___________.

The correct phrase is "She's on tenterhooks." Hooks aren't particularly tender, but they can be tenter.


First come, first ________

The correct phrase is "first come, first served." Although many of use have a tendency to say this incorrectly, people are "served," not "serve."


The company _____ an annual picnic.

A company is a singular item, so it takes singular verbs. It is, however, awkward to refer to a company as doing something, since it's an inanimate object.


His anger is deep ______.

The correct phrase is "His anger is deep seated." The word "seated" means firmly established.


He emigrated ____ Europe.

The correct phrase is "He emigrated from Europe." Use the word "from" with the word "emigrate," and use the word "to" with "immigrate."


Magic is a _______ of hand.

The correct phrase is "Magic is a sleight of hand." Slight means small, sleight means dexterous or cunning.


The appetizer ____ her appetite.

The correct phrase is "The appetizer whetted her appetite." The word "whet" means to stimulate.


That book _______ my interest.

The correct phrase is "That book piqued my interest." Your interest is not likely at its peak from just one book, but you might be interested enough to learn more, which is what this phrase means.


Waiting _____ my friend

The correct phrase is "waiting for my friend." Unless you are a server at a restaurant, you are probably not waiting on your friend.


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