Archive for Eggcorns

Fairy Ann

David Shariatmadari, "That eggcorn moment: If you’ve been signalled out by friends for saying ‘when all is set and done’, you’re not alone – linguists even have a word for it", The Guardian 9/16/2014:

Learning your mother tongue might seem effortless, but doesn’t always go without a hitch. In particular, you may hear certain sets of words and break them down wrongly in your head. So long as your version is plausible, sounds the same, and you’re not asked to write it down, the error can persist for years. I was in sixth form when I realised my version of “as opposed to” wasn’t widely shared. I thought it was “as a pose to”, which in my head implied some kind of challenge to an existing idea, like posing a question.

Confirming the general public's fascination with linguistics, there are 1108 comments so far.

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Spit(ting| and) images

Bob Moore was taken aback by "spit and image" in Frank Bruni's 9/9/2014 NYT Op-Ed, and wondered whether it was an eggcorn for "spitting image":

I worry about the combustible tension between our abysmal regard for the Congress that we’ve got and a near certainty that the Congress we’re about to get will be its spit and image: familiar faces, timeworn histrionics, unending paralysis.

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Whoa be tide

Ruth Blatt, "The Lean And Mean Led Zeppelin Organization", Forbes 9/6/2014:

The Zeppelin organization was small by today’s standards, with a crew of only about 15 people traveling with the band. The band itself would arrive 30 minutes before a show. “They would turn up and they would go in the dressing room. There was no change of clothes or wardrobe or any of the poncy stuff. And whoa be tide if the stuff wasn’t ready,” he said “And it always was.”

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Whole heartily

Rod Dreher, 'The Coming Methodist Schism", 3/11/2014, quoting an anonymous Methodist pastor:

One of my more moderate theology professors once told me that you could take the platform of the Democrat Party, take out the Party name and replace it with God and the UMC and most all of the faculty, staff, administration, and student body would whole heartily support it.

A literal global replacement of "Democrat(s)" with "God and the UMC" in the 2012 Democratic Party platform produces somewhat bizarre results — the first sentence becomes (with the replacement-site in bold face)

Four years ago, God and the UMC, independents, and many Republicans came together as Americans to move our country forward.

And the third paragraph (with pluralization to preserve grammaticality) starts

We Gods and the UMC offer America the opportunity to move our country forward by creating an economy built to last and built from the middle out.

But anyhow, the reason that Kim Temple sent me a link to Mr. Dreher's article was not to give me this opportunity for substitutional humor, but rather to point out the charming eggcornish blend "whole heartily".

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Pathing the way

AKMA writes:

A student paper crossed my desk this week, in which the author wrote that the Letter to the Hebrews "pathed the way" for an understanding that Christ's superior sacrifice renders redundant the daily sacrifice in the Temple.  

A quick Google check for the phrase (new to me) shows about 167,000 results; it doesn't seem to show up in the eggcorn database or the forums (though I may be searching poorly). The substitution makes ample sense (apart from the nonstandard verb "pathe"), but I hadn't noticed it until today.

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Barraco Barner, UK President

You would be wrong if you thought Language Log hadn't taken note of the beautician in Blackpool, UK, who unwisely ventured into the geopolitical realm with this tweet:

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Steering through the non-grasping power mongrels

Michael Janda, "Gina Rinehart takes aim at Austalia's 'entitlement' mentality, points to Thatcher", 3/7/2014:

Billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart has attacked Australia's entitlement mentality and called on the nation's leaders to emulate former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. [...]

"Our political leaders are fortunate to have a leader they can emulate, a leader who well understood fundamental economic matters, critical for all countries and their standards of living," Mrs Rinehart said.  

"Margaret Thatcher took courageous decisions in the interests of Britain, despite the obvious noisy detractors.  

"Thatcher steered through a lack of courage in her own political party, which had become riddled with lefties or 'non-courageous wets' and self-interested power mongrels, who didn't grasp or didn't want to grasp what was needed for their own country."

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Affix dinners

Francois Lang wonders "Will this restaurant offer a Suffix Dinner next week?

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One of life's calm incidents

In Rex Stout's "It's Science That Counts" (All-Story Weekly, 1916), Jonas Simmons is a small-town hardware store owner, who has acquired the reputation of being a skilled boxer due to his practice of working out on a light punching-bag in the back of his store. For years, the Annual Picnic of the Holtville Merchants' Association has featured an open challenge for an exhibition bout with Simmons — a challenge which no one has ever taken up. Then a new young clerk in Bill Ogilvy's store, Mr. Notter, starts boasting about having been the boxing champion of Columbus, and a planned bout between Simmons and Notter is the talk of the picnic.

But Simmons was never all that much of a boxer, in fact, and so as the time for the bout approaches, he panics and runs away.

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Death Nail

IT sent in a link to a web forum post that includes the following (emphasis added):

However as I have mentioned a few days ago, data could well be the death nail for Ovivo, as I am sure Vodafone will limit the data bandwidth they can have, so the more customers Ovivo get the worse it will become. Who knows what deal they have on volume with Vodafone.

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Once so ever

Jasmine Bailey, "Pennsylvania newlyweds kill for the thrill", 12/7/2013:

Friday night, police arrested 22-year-old Elytte Barbour in the November death of 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara. His 18-year-old wife, Miranda, was arrested for the same crime earlier this week. (Via WBRE)

She says LaFerrara groped her and after convincing her to turn herself into police, Elytte defended his wife’s story. (Via The Daily Item)

“I do not believe that this was malicious once so ever, I believe that she was attacked and that under those circumstances she took the necessary measures to defend herself.” (Via WHP-TV)

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Influence pedaling

Steven Croley, "White House Review of Agency Rulemaking: An Empirical Investigation", University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 70, No. 3 (Summer, 2003):

After all, if the OIRA review process were eliminated altogether, as some critics of activist presidential oversight would seem to favor, some amount of White House influence pedaling would obviously persist.

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"Sure and hell"

From A.G.:

I think I may have found a new eggcorn this weekend. I forget how I came across it but apparently there are a lot of people on the Internet who are writing "sure and hell" instead of "sure as hell" (which is what I believe the saying to be).

Have you encountered this before? It could perhaps be an autocorrect issue so it would be nice to see this in a spoken corpus. I checked the buckeye but didn't find any instances of it.

There certainly are plenty of examples of "sure and hell" as a substitute for "sure as hell", including some in books where autocorrect seems less likely than in short web-forum comments that might have been entered on a smartphone.

Similarly, there are some examples of "plain and day". Like A.G., I'm not sure whether these are typos, autocorrections gone wrong, or wrongly lexicalized idioms, though I suspect that some of them do represent what the writers think is correct rather than what some helpful program does. Commenters may be able to provide relevant arguments or even evidence.

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Hurtles and hurdles

Nicholas Thompson, "Terrible News About Carbon and Climage Change", The New Yorker 5/12/2013:

We’ve got more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than at any point since the Pliocene, when there were jungles in northern Canada. And the number hurdles ever upward, as ocean levels rise and extreme weather becomes routine. Three-fifty was the old target; four-fifty is the new one. But what indication is there that we’ll stop at five hundred, six hundred, or even more?

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Whaling/Wailing/Waling on

Michael Martinez, "Marine investigated in videotaped road rage at Camp Pendleton", CNN 4/5/2013:

The Marine, whose name, rank or unit weren't being released, was cited for communicating a threat in the incident, but he wasn't charged as of Friday, said Sgt. Christopher Duncan, a Camp Pendleton spokesman.

The video, which went viral on the Internet, shows a young man yelling outside a truck, and he uses his hands and feet to wail on the truck whose driver sits calmly behind the wheel with the window rolled up. A woman passenger films the video.

The cited video is here, though 6,235 views seems short of "viral" status .

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