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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Words, Words, Words...



As a writer, I obviously have a small love affair with the English language. I love words, I love grammar, I love idioms and colloquialisms and regionalisms. I love the vast tapestry that is the US because it gives me so much to consider in terms of our language. I try not to be a snob about it, really I do! Because I know that I am in no way perfect when it comes to English -- that honor belongs to Catherine Gayle, I think :)

One of my favorite things to consider in our language are popular phrases and sayings that are commonly misused or mis-said.

For instance, did you know that there is no such thing as a Cardshark?!?! I didn't, until about three minutes ago. The actual word is Cardsharp! With a P! Mind has officially been blown and it's not even lunchtime!

A couple that I've heard out in the "wild" are "We're not out of the words yet," instead of "out of the woods." (Hubby and I actually say "words" now just because we think it's so funny) And the lady at Starbucks said to me the other day, as I grabbed a sample of lemon pound cake, "Bet you can eat just one!" Now, I know from watching Garfield & Friends as a child that the phrase is "Bet you can't eat just one!" But I'm grateful to that Starbucks lady for giving me the idea for this blog :)

My husband admitted that until recently, he thought the phrase was "Six of one, dozen of the other." He never understood how that was a good analogy for things that were basically the same. Ha!

And I'll admit that I always thought it was "For all intensive purposes," rather than "For all intents and purposes." It was only very recently that I figured that one out. LOL!

I also just learned it's "Bald-faced lie" NOT "Bold-faced"! What?!?

And wait a minute...I think I'm about to blow everyone's mind here... Did you ever say that someone was the "Spitting image" of someone else? Probably. I'm pretty sure no one knows what it really is, but apparently, it's "Spit AND image!" I can hardly stay in my seat, I've been so blown away! 

What about you? Any phrases that you learned you were saying wrong after years of saying them one way? Or are you the one always correcting people when they get the phrase wrong? :)

-Jerrica, Her Grace of Grammar


29 comments:

  1. I cringe when I hear incorrect grammar but would not correct anyone unless my little granddaughter - lol.
    I feel it would be rude to correct an adult. MY husband is an English as a Second Language teacher so he is always correcting students' grammar. Sometimes I may slip up and say something incorrectly and he will of course correct me; so when HE (rarely) does, I will, of course, correct him.

    We all, I think, say something not grammatically correct from time to time. It is those blatant mistakes that really get to me.

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    1. Pat, I agree. I'm sure there are very few people who get it *all* right, so I find it's best to just hold my tongue, too :)

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  2. Here's one for you Jerrica...

    I'm sure you've heard "If you think xyz, you've got another thing coming." The correct phrase is "If you think xyz, you've got another THINK coming."

    Here's a link that explains it all - http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/another-think-coming.html

    I know THINK is the right phrase, but THING sounds so much better to my ears.

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    1. No! NO NO NO! That can't be right!! Are you serious?!?! I can't wrap my mind around that this early in the morning! LOL!

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    2. I agree that another THING coming sounds better. But another THINK is kind of clever. :)

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    3. Think is correct. Sorry, Jerrica. :)

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  3. Interesting blog, Jerrica.

    I'm sure there are saying I have all wrong, but I don't know what they are unless someone tells me. LOL! I definitely had 'spitting image' wrong.

    Here are two that I hear others say incorrectly:

    We have a long ROAD to hoe. It's ROW. Like in a garden. No one hoes a road, at least not to my knowledge.

    I could care less. It's I couldn't care less. If you COULD care less, it means you still care some.

    I just have to say I have a friend that is always getting sayings mixed up and I think it's hilarious. It's one of her many charms, IMO.

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    1. UGH!!! And everyone, Everyone, EVERYONE says I COULD care less, and it drives me batty. LOL. If you COULD care less, then you actually care some. GRRRR.

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    2. Samantha, I've never even heard that one about the road! Lol!

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    3. Maybe it's an old fashioned country saying. I heard it a lot growing up.

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    4. Must be a southern thing, Jerrica. I've heard it ALL my life. ;)

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  4. Ava Stone stole my example, so I'll open another can of worms--or should that be words?

    So many people say, "I could care less" but the expression is "I couldN'T care less." And if you think about it, the second one makes more sense.

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    1. For you, Catherine, and Samantha- this makes me laugh so hard! I too HATE when people say this wrong!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7O0MFkmpw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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    2. That's awesome, Erin. And I loved his rant on holding "down" the fort. :)

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    3. The "couldn't care less" issue seems rampant! Lol! Erin, I'm going to watch the video later - I can't wait!

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    4. LOL! Erin, this was great. I love it! But I had to Google it because Youtube said the video was unavailable.

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  5. Sorry for stealing your example, Ashlyn. :)

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  6. For the longest time, I thought the expression was "Making ends meat" instead of " making ends meet," lol. I thought it was a gross cut of meat that one would make if that was all they could afford!

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    1. That's hilarious, Erin! Especially because there are meat packers out there who actually do that...they make ends of meat meet. LOL.

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    2. Erin, that might be the funniest one ever!! Lmao!

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    3. Now I'm hungry for some steak. ;)

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  7. Okay, first of all, there are plenty of ways that I mess up with my words and grammar. LOL.

    But there are tons of words and phrases out there that I have learned I was using wrong. There are even more that I know that others are using wrong, and it makes me want to scream.

    I had no clue about spitting image/spit and image, BTW.

    The one that drives me the most crazy lately, though, is when someone says that they're honing in on something. What they mean is that they're homing in on something, like a homing pigeon would do. But so many people have said it the wrong way for so long, that style guides are starting to say it is acceptable to use the wrong word. WHAT??? WHY??? Honing in makes zero sense. LOL.

    There's my rant for the day. I could go on, but I'll stop myself so I don't take over your whole comment section.

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    1. I knew this would get you going, Catherine! Lol!

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    2. And I had no idea about honing vs homing. I mean, I know what homing is but I always thought the phrase was honing! Lmao!

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    3. The verb to hone has one meaning...essentially the one you use when you say you're honing your craft. :)

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  8. Personally it drives me crazy when people say visa versa. Arggg. Vice Versa, people...
    I'm really going to have to think about ones I've heard that aren't right and had no idea.

    Great blog Jerrica!

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    1. Agreed, Marquita! That one drives me nuts too!!

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    2. Ugh, yeah, that one gets me. I can understand that one a bit, because they look at vice versa, and they think it must be foreign, and then they try to pronounce it in a foreign accent or something. But it is wrong! LOL.

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    3. Like they're speaking Italiano? hee! Vica Versa. Spaghetti! Linguine! Mario and Luigi. ;)

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