Stop Making Up Words!

Stop making up words. There. I said it.


It’s not really my style, but I’m dishing out a little tough love today. (Stop whining—you’ll thank me later.)

Sometimes the truth is hard to hear, but if you want to sound smarter, you have to stop making up words!

Below follows a short list of the most offensive made-up words. Memorize this list because when you stop saying the wrong words and start using the right words, you will sound smarter!

1. Alot

Okay, so maybe you’re not saying this one incorrectly, but some of you are writing it wrong. To be grammatically correct (and use an actual word), it is written as two words: a lot.

Definition of a lot: to a considerable degree


Alot of people were at the farmer’s market on Saturday.


A lot of people were at the farmer’s market on Saturday.


2. Anyways

Another simple one, people. Anyways is not a word; the correct word is anyway. Drop the “s” and you’re good to go!

Definition of anyway: in any case or as an additional consideration


Anyways, that point doesn’t make any sense!


Anyway, that point doesn’t make any sense!


3. Funner

I get why you want to say funner. After all, fun, funner, funnest follows the pattern we use for other words. But funner isn’t actually a word.

The correct way to state that something is more fun than something else is exactly that: more fun. And to say that one activity is more fun than every other activity: the most fun.

Definition of more fun: providing more amusement or enjoyment


Today was funner than yesterday!


Today was more fun than yesterday!

For a detailed explanation of why funner is not actually a word, please refer to “Is Funner a Word?”


4. Irregardless

I have to admit, I didn’t come up with this one on my own. Years ago, I heard @davidfaber from CNBC go on an on-air rant about how much he hated to hear the word irregardless because … it’s not really a word! The man was right.

When people say irregardless, they mean to say regardless.

Definition of regardless: despite everything


Irregardless of the fact that Janie had found her keys, she couldn’t drive.


Regardless of the fact that Janie had found her keys, she couldn’t drive.


5. Orientate

I wasn’t sure why orientate has slipped into our vocabulary. So I did my research and learned that, across the pond, orientate is commonly used.

Definition of orient: to acquaint with the existing position; also, to arrange in a specific position; to direct toward the interests of a specific group


We took a tour of the school over the summer to orientate Marie.


We took a tour of the school over the summer to orient Marie.


6. Unthaw

Some people say unthaw, but what they really mean is thaw.

Definition of thaw: to go from a frozen to liquid state; also, to abandon aloofness


Dad said to unthaw a package of hamburger from the freezer.


Dad said to thaw a package of hamburger from the freezer.


Have a question? Has English grammar got you stumped? Tweet me: @Snowflake_Story or @JillBarletti.

Sometimes we all need a little tough love.

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Also a note to my non-native English-speaking friends: Please know that I feel your pain! I have invested countless hours learning languages – I know how hard it is! I’m not judging you, I promise! (And no one else should be either.)


A quick thank you to our fellow word nerds at Merriam-Webster. We rely on their dictionary for definitions of words in our blog posts. (Note: we do not provide all of the definitions, only the more common meanings.)

Cambridge, Collins, MacMillan, and Oxford are also superb dictionaries, but all of us at Snowflake Stories love how Merriam-Webster brings its area of expertise to national discussions via social media, and in the process reminds us that words really do matter! In case you haven’t been paying attention, check out my post “Words You Are Mispronouncing” for examples of how the humble word can be a powerful weapon.