I'm not pedantic about wordy stuff, but there are a couple of common mistakes that I find interesting.
England v Australia, or England vs. Australia - 'v' or 'vs.' or even 'versus' (I've also seen 'verses' in some places).
What I'm talking about is the little thing you put between names to show that two teams or people are taking each other in some kind of contest. OK, what's the big deal?
Most people think the 'v' stands for 'versus', and the ones who think about that sort of thing assume it's because 'versus' is the Latin for 'against'. Fine. Except they're wrong. 'Versus' does mean 'against', but so does 'contra', and it's 'contra' that the Romans would have used in the context of a match.
So where does the 'v' come from?
The 'v' stands for 'vel' which is the Latin word for 'or'. They would have used it to say something like: 'Maximus or Claudius is going to survive so that he can take on the tigers'. It makes a lot of sense if you think about knock-out competitions, where we write 'or' all the time.
For example, let's say Roddick's through to the Wimbledon semi-final - who's he playing? Federer or Henman - which the Romans would have written Federer v Henman (a match not all that different from the gladiator taking on the tigers).
In other words, each round is written with 'or' because one or the other player is going through to the next round.
Got that? The 'v' stands for 'vel'. So don't say 'versus', say 'v' or if you really want to be pretentious, say 'vel'. And don't write 'vs.' either. That's wrong too - there's no 's' in 'vel'.
The 'v' is still used all the time in Logic, when you're drawing a chart to work out the possibilities of a set of propositions. Logicians and philosophers have always known that it stands for 'vel', they've just been keeping quite about it. Possibly because they don't watch much football.
So there you go - one linguistic misconception I like to rant about. I'll tell you about the other one another time.