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100 Words that instantly make you sound dumber

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

Open mouth, insert foot

The way you speak with friends may be inappropriate in a professional situation. Are you sabotaging your career with any of these words that make you sound less than intelligent?

11. Collaborate vs. corroborate

If you are verifying someone's story with evidence, it's corroborate. To work together is to collaborate.

12. Comprised of

This is a nonsensical phrase. Comprise means to contain. The U.S. comprises 50 states, which means it's composed of 50 states. The proper phrase is "composed of."

13. Controversial vs. contentious

If a person is difficult to deal with or is being stubborn, they're being contentious — not controversial.

14. Conversate

Definition: to speak with someone else

While used in a few dialects, this word remains nonstandard English. So while it may be accepted locally, in business, one should use "converse."

15.  (In good ) conscious

Conscious means awake. What you really wanted to say is "in good conscience." Conscience refers to your inner sense of right and wrong.

16. Could care less vs. couldn't care less

Definition: purportedly, ones inability to be less affected by something

The phrase is "couldn't care less," meaning there's nothing one could do or say to enable you to be more ambivalent.

17. Debark

Definition: to get off a plane or boat

The correct word is disembark. Debark is most commonly used to mean removing bark from a tree. You can also say "deplane" if referring to an aircraft.

18. Decimate

Definition: to destroy; exact a tax of 10 percent

Don't use it to describe something that's "completely destroyed."

19. Disinterested vs. uninterested

Many people say they're disinterested when they don't care about something. What they mean is "uninterested." Someone who's disinterested is an objective third party.

20. Drowneded

Drowned is the past tense of drowning. There's no need for an extra -ed.

Up Next: More words that instantly make you sound dumber

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