I CONFESS to being on tender hooks about broaching this subject, but I have decided to nip it in the butt in one foul swoop.
I bet that's got you wincing, as of course I should have written 'on tenterhooks', 'nip it in the bud' and 'one fell swoop'.
Recent research reveals many of us regularly get familiar phrases VERY wrong - but why do we turn into Mrs Malaprop or become like that gaffer of gaffes, George Bush, at the drop of a cat - sorry, hat.
Is it because we are hard of hearing, not paying attention, or embarrassingly ignorant of our wonderful English language? Or maybe we are just 'misunderestimated' (a Bush gem).
I suppose we could always blame the schools - aren't they always the escape goat (as the late Jade Goody famously said instead of scapegoat) for anything that goes wrong in society?
A mute (moot) point some may say, but teachers have not been battering (battening) down the hatches in the face of so much unfair criticism; in fact recently they have started to fight back.
Easter hols is teacher conference time, and I hear that school staff will at last be telling parents to take more responsibility for their own children.
Teachers are fed up that many students arrive at school exhausted from late-night computer games and TV, while too many little ones are unable to dress themselves or use the toilet properly.
But back to our problems with words. The information, by the way, was gathered by hearing company Amplifon, which polled 1,000 people to get the 10 most common gaffes - and I've included most of them here.
My favourite, which brings a whole new angle to the debate about whether fish and sea creatures feel pain, was 'a damp squid on tender hooks'!
There is, of course, another reason for people coming out with the wrong words or phrases, and that is when the brain goes into freefall, as with victims of dementia.
My mum, who is now in the severe stages of Alzheimer's disease, was often amusing in the early days when she herself would laugh at the strange words that came out of her mouth.
Once, while a passenger, she looked out of the window and described the traffic as 'the furniture on the motorway'; another time she asked if Mr F 'still has his feathers?', meaning his beard.
Do send me your favourite gaffes, comments or ideas to email@example.com.