The best way to explain that you’ve made a mistake

red pen mistake marking

Do teachers mark with a red pencil now? …Is that more politically correct?

So you’ve made an error. Maybe you got someone to work really hard on something that turned out to be worthless. Or maybe you poked someone in the eye when you meant to high five them. Or maybe you even ran over your friends cat while reversing out their drive.

Well in these sorts of scenarios you’ve got a few choices.

You can start with “Hey sorry man, I’ve made a terrible….” And then you pick one of the following:


I particularly like flub… though I’ve never heard it before and therefore it makes me suspicious. Typographical error is probably a bit specific for most situations.

But what if you want to be more direct – you’ve made a mistake and you want to say it as a verb.

You’ve got fewer options now…

I bungled it, I screwed up, I did a bad, I goofed up.

Why do we always make mistakes in an upward motion? Mucked up, screwed up, messed up, goofed up, flubbed up…

Ok, that last one was made up… I think.

But I use a word you don’t use.

And you know, you probably won’t like it. I don’t think I’ve met a fan of this phrase yet – people just look at me sort of funny. They think I’m talking about something else. But I carry on like a terrible trendsetter – It’s me against the world.

When I make a mistake I say:

I spooned it.

I totally spooned that exam.

I spooned my driving test.

You spooned it, buddy, but it’s ok.


And people don’t get it… They think I’m talking about this:

spooning animals tigers

Which I’m definitely not. (by the way this is a really intriguing google search – didn’t think it would have so many results…)

I think it’s the best way to explain you’ve made a mistake – because it’s sort of awkward to say. It’s the same amount of awkward you experience when you actually make a flub (still doesn’t sound right).

So it brings back the emotions and really sums up the whole experience.

If I wasn’t such a terrible trendsetter, it would be in the dictionary by now.

Spoon (verb) – to make a mistake or fail at something. Example: I completely spooned that conversation; we’re not even friends anymore.