Bringing churches

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I was puzzled for a while by a interesting error in yesterday's The Hill. A story by Jared Gans, under the headline "What Weisselberg’s guilty plea means for Trump", ended like this:

Weissmann said defense counsels requesting coverage in a plea agreement for other crimes that may have been committed is “standard,” so someone knows “there’s nothing waiting in the wings.”

He said its exclusion from the agreement is “striking” and makes him believe Bragg more when he said the investigation is ongoing.

“That made me think that we all need to sort of take a deep breath and wait to see what happens after the Trump Organization trial, and so whether other churches get brought,” Weissmann said.

Since "churches" has now been changed to "charges", here's the obligatory screenshot:

This is presumably the kind of error where the writer's attention moves ahead while their fingers continue down some wrong but well-worn associative path, a "Fay-Cutler malapropism" in typing.



  1. Benjamin E. Orsatti said,

    August 19, 2022 @ 6:27 am

    It's a little sloppy in other ways too — for example, "defense counsels" should either be "defense counsel's" or "defense counsels'", depending on how many of them there are.

    Otherwise, maybe it was intentional; after all, if you can
    bring the mountain to Muhammed", why can't you bring churches… somewhere?

  2. Dick Margulis said,

    August 19, 2022 @ 6:50 am

    Speech-to-text may have been involved, posted first, cleaned up later.

    [(myl) That occurred to me as well — but as opaquely weird as contemporary language models can be, mapping "charges" to "churches" in the quoted context seems unlikely.]

  3. Francois Lang said,

    August 19, 2022 @ 7:25 am

    Funny article about Mrs. Malaprop's legacy

  4. J.W. Brewer said,

    August 19, 2022 @ 8:40 am

    I just did some quick googling of phrases like "churches were dropped" and "churches were brought" to see if there were other instances where a sentence with such a phrase only makes sense of "charges" is substituted, and didn't find any. Although my search was not exhaustive.

    [(myl) I couldn't find any either.]

  5. mg said,

    August 19, 2022 @ 12:07 pm

    Voice-to-text was my first thought as well. I've seen errors like this and even weirder ones when the person was talking softly to their phone, including one voicemail transcription where my brother's short message in English was transcribed as a Spanish phrase.

  6. F said,

    August 19, 2022 @ 12:41 pm

    I've occasionally made typing errors like this — substituting a word with an unrelated one that sounds kind of similar. Evidently words going through a vocal stage before coming out as neural signals to the fingers.

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