A fowl of the rules

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Jordain Carney, "House will have to vote for tax-cut bill again", TheHill 12/19/2017, originally included this sentence:

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also seized on the ruling immediately, saying Republicans in a "mad dash to provide tax breaks for their billionaire campaign contributors" had ran a fowl of the chamber's rules.

I didn't get a screenshot in time, and it's now "had run afoul of the chamber's rules", so you'll have to take my word for the original version. It's not clear whether the original was an eggcorn or an autocorrect error or a Fay/Cutler malapropism.

[h/t Jonathan Falk]


  1. Martin Delson said,

    December 20, 2017 @ 4:40 pm

    None of the above. I would guess it's a simple spelling error.

    When typing, I find myself frequently substituting a homonym — or a near-homonym — for the correct word (e.g. "their" for "they're"; "hour" for "our"; "went to" for "when to"; "appreciate it" for "appreciated"; and numerous others.) Most times I notice it before going on, but sometimes they slip by me, and I catch them only on rereading the entire message.

  2. Jonathan Smith said,

    December 20, 2017 @ 9:51 pm

    Not a malapropism as I don't think it makes sense to say I intended to say "afoul" and accidentally said "a fowl"… such cases require imperfect homophones that share sounds/stress/structure/part of speech/other(?)…

  3. Jonathan Gress-Wright said,

    December 20, 2017 @ 10:48 pm

    Eggcorn seems plausible. You don't see the word "afoul" outside of idioms like "run afoul" or "fall afoul" very often.

  4. David Morris said,

    December 21, 2017 @ 12:01 am

    This is probably not immediately relevant, but according to Google Ngrams, 'run afoul' has only been more common that 'run foul' since the 1920s.

  5. Jonathan said,

    December 21, 2017 @ 12:29 am

    So we're not attributing it to the fact that the rule the original bill violated was the Byrd Rule?

  6. Neal Goldfarb said,

    December 21, 2017 @ 2:31 am

    Given that the quote is about the current GOP, maybe what we're dealing is a Fake Utler eck horn.

  7. maidhc said,

    December 21, 2017 @ 3:55 am

    Could this be a speech-to-text error?

  8. Adam F said,

    December 21, 2017 @ 4:27 am

    Now I have the musical version of Gilbert Sheldon's "Set my Chickens Free" cartoon stuck in my head.

  9. Philip Taylor said,

    December 21, 2017 @ 6:04 am

    Martin Delson suggests "a simple apelling error", but the self-examples that he cites seem to me to be, in fact, examples of Fay/Cutler malapropisms rather than "simple spelling errors" per se: what do others think ? I was reminded of this just a few minutes ago, when I found that I had written (in an e-mail which I was about to send) "As I send to Khanh the other morning …" — this should, of course, have read "As I said to Khanh the other morning …".

    [(myl) Such typing substitutions are very common, in my experience, and they're certainly analogous to the substitutions in speech that Fay & Cutler studied. But my impression is that the distribution of such word-substitution slips of the finger is quite different in some ways from word-substitution slips of the tongue — for example, the "lexical category rule" (namely that the substitutions in speech generally respect lexical category) doesn't seem to apply, or at least not to apply as strongly.]

  10. David Marjanović said,

    December 21, 2017 @ 6:23 am

    "a simple apelling error"

    I see what you did there.

  11. Guy said,

    December 21, 2017 @ 1:57 pm

    It’s also interesting that the original had “ran” as the past participle of “run”. I’ve noticed a lot of people with otherwise mostly standard dialects do this in speech.

  12. Michael Watts said,

    December 21, 2017 @ 2:07 pm

    I didn't get a screenshot in time, and it's now "had run afoul of the chamber's rules", so you'll have to take my word for the original version.

    This wouldn't be any less true if you had gotten a screenshot "in time". Nothing's easier than altering the contents of a web page.

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