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From today's For Better or For Worse, a seasonal eggcorn:


  1. Scott Mauldin said,

    June 16, 2015 @ 4:47 pm

    I see the reverse process happen a lot (tongue-in-cheek) in "congraduations".

  2. Pflaumbaum said,

    June 16, 2015 @ 5:27 pm

    Toddlers seem to be eggcorn-generating machines, at least judging from my daughter.

    A recent cluster actually involves eggs… she says 'head-egg', 'tummy-egg' etc. for -ache. It made me recall the discussion between MYL and Lera Boroditsky a few years ago about Whorfianism, because I get the strong impression that she conceives the pain as an egg-shaped thing in her stomach. But of course that's likely my own projection. (If indeed I'm even analysing the word correctly as 'egg'.)

  3. Jacob said,

    June 16, 2015 @ 5:37 pm

    That's two eggcorns if you count "kindergarden."

  4. Ralph Hickok said,

    June 16, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

    My oldest son came up with a marvelous eggcorn (though I didn't know that word yet) when he was about 4 years old. He was playing with a broken electrical battery that he'd found somewhere and I made him give it to me, cautioning that it was very dangerous to play with because there was something inside it that looked like salt but was poison.

    The following day, he came running up to me and said, excitedly, "Daddy, you were right! The radio just said they put a man in jail for the salt in the battery!"

  5. Matt said,

    June 16, 2015 @ 7:11 pm

    "Kindergarden" could be analyzed as a sort of half-finished etymologically informed hypercorrection though.

  6. J. Goard said,

    June 16, 2015 @ 7:17 pm


    I wouldn't call "kindergarden" an eggcorn, since the English spelling it's changed to is a cognate with essentially the same meaning as the source, just a slightly different spelling.

  7. Bloix said,

    June 16, 2015 @ 8:28 pm

    Kindergarden is eye dialect anyway – Americans (and Canadians, this being FBFW) voice the t in kindergarten.

  8. Mark Mandel said,

    June 16, 2015 @ 8:30 pm

    @J. Goard: Right. I was about to say that the pron's different, but that's a v.small difference for me, and for many people is nil. … Except that the kid doesn't know its source… Oh, my head!

  9. Breffni said,

    June 17, 2015 @ 5:23 am

    Thank you, Ralph Hickok and son, for my first laugh of the day. That's a beauty.

  10. richardelguru said,

    June 17, 2015 @ 6:00 am

    Not really relevant at all, but when my eldest was around that age he explained to a friend of mine that people came in "black or orange", though since the friend was an Irish Catholic I suspect that he felt he came in neither category.

  11. Suburbanbanshee said,

    June 17, 2015 @ 6:39 am

    Actually, there are plenty of Americans who emphasize the T in kindergarten, and plenty of other Americans who actually say kindergarden. In my experience, the T version emphasizes the first syllable (often it's actually KINNergarten), while the d version puts the accent on the third syllable (kinderGARDen).

  12. Adrian Bailey said,

    June 17, 2015 @ 7:13 am

    With my old fogey hat on, I'll only say that nursery-schools have no right to be talking about "graduation" anyway.

  13. Bloix said,

    June 17, 2015 @ 10:01 am

    Suburbanbanshee- I'm a northeasterner (roots in both NY and Boston) with a Midwestern wife, and I have never heard kinder-GARD-en (or kinder-GART-en), except, I guess, in the Bing Crosby song "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," where the meter requires it.
    The pronunciation I'm familiar with has a primary emphasis on KIN and a secondary emphasis on GART. The t is either voiced or it is a glottal stop.

    I'm not doubting you, just would be interested in where you're from.

  14. Rodger C said,

    June 17, 2015 @ 11:04 am

    I've heard both "kindergarten," as Bloix describes it, and "kindergarden" as a quasi-eggcorn that I never thought was phonologically motivated.

  15. Robert M. said,

    June 17, 2015 @ 11:13 am

    @Suburbanbanshee, I suspect most Americans actually say "Kindergarden" (probably with a flap)—so much so that the comic's spelling didn't even surprise me or change anything about how I imagined the child pronouncing the word. (I'm from the northern US.) I've never heard "kinderGARDen," but perhaps there are regional varations I don't hear around here (but are you sure you're not mis-hearing secondary stress, which certainly is on that syllable?). "KINNergarten" sounds OK to me, though perhaps odd in some registers. Particularly in rapid speech, that kind of simplification wouldn't surprise me at all.

    Back to stress, given the phonetic similarity between "Garten" and "garden"—in fact, for many speakers who don't intentionally say the former as a German word, they're identical—I'm guessing most English speakers subconsciously analyze "Kindergarten" as a compound. In line with that, I'd be surprised to see stress anywhere except the first half of the word. I wonder if people who pronounce it differently aren't analyzing it this way (which is, of course, entirely possible since despite sounding like an English compound, at least of the "cranberry" type, it's not really one).

  16. Bob Ladd said,

    June 18, 2015 @ 12:56 pm

    @Bloix: Lots of Americans would never voice the T in kindergarten or any other word where the T is followed by schwa+N (written, fountain, Burton, etc. etc.) – it's generally glottal stop plus syllabic [n]. There are North Americans who do have a "flap" in that environment, but I'd be willing to bet they're a minority. So the pronunciation "kindergarden" requires a different explanation for most speakers.

  17. Alex said,

    June 18, 2015 @ 3:21 pm

    This reminds me of CakeWrecks' hilarious documentation of all the bakers whose job requires them to decorate graduation cakes, but who can't be bothered to learn to spell "graduation" or "congratulations". "Contralulations"? Really? English has some messed up spelling conventions, but that's not even remotely plausible.

  18. Pflaumbaum said,

    June 19, 2015 @ 4:24 am

    @ Bob Ladd

    Am I wrong in saying that in some forms of AmE – or at least in one, AAVE – the same [ʔn̩] combination is realised for /dən/ as well as /tən/?

    For instance in the word didn't, which often sounds to me like [dɪʔn̩(ʔ)].

  19. Rodger C said,

    June 19, 2015 @ 11:17 am

    @Pflaumbaum: Also true for some varieties of white Appalachian English. I think the glottal stop has migrated from the end of the word by metathesis.

  20. David Morris said,

    June 19, 2015 @ 6:01 pm

    On those occasions when I have seen the spelling 'congradulations' on 'Grammar Fail' websites, I have assumed that it was an accidental or maybe habitual mis-spelling, influenced by the common USEng pronunciation with an alveolar tap or flap. I simply hadn't considered the influence of 'graduation'. To me, a more elegant play on words is 'congraduations'.
    When I speak carefully, I definitely pronounce it with a /tj/ in 'congratulations', but when I speak uncarefully, it turns into /tʃ/.

  21. Pflaumbaum said,

    June 20, 2015 @ 12:28 am

    @ Rodger

    That sounds very plausible. I assume then that you wouldn't hear it in wooden, but you might it wouldn't?

  22. Gourmand said,

    June 20, 2015 @ 7:52 am

    This reminds me of "Conglaturation" , the message displayed at the end of the Ghostbusters video game.

  23. Rodger C said,

    June 20, 2015 @ 11:03 am

    @Pflaumbaum: What you posit is exactly what I observe.

  24. Ray said,

    June 25, 2015 @ 12:53 am

    I came across an awesome eggcorn today on facebook. a friend of mine wrote: "I found that I can equally take joy in watching karma hand somebody their come-up-ins, while simultaneously feel bad for them while it's happening."

    (is there a place online where people can submit eggcorns?)

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