Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I'm Just Saying . . .

By April Moore

The other day, my son, whose been reading To  Kill a Mocking Bird in one of his classes, declared that he found a typo in the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic.

Say what?

I was intrigued. "Really?"

"Yeah, Calpurnia said, 'You've got another think coming.' It should be 'thing.'"

"Oh, good catch, but no." I explained the old comical expression is intentionally ungrammatical, and because "thing," makes more sense, the phrase is often mistaken as a typo. The modernized version is obviously more widely accepted, but I have to say, I'm a little partial to the original.

This got me thinking about other common often-misunderstood expressions and phrases that have crept into our everyday vernacular.

Statue of Limitations. We can thank Seinfeld for bringing this one up. Unless you're one of those statue street performers, real statues definitely have limitations, such as moving, breathing, and making faces behind your back. Statute of Limitations pertains to laws that set maximum time periods one can wait to file a lawsuit.

Mute point. I suppose the silent treatment could be proving a point, or making a statement, but in this case, it's moot point, meaning of no importance, which incidentally, used to mean up for debate until around 1900, but gradually changed meaning.

With all intensive purposes. That's an intense purpose . . . as opposed to a laid-back purpose? The correct phrase is with all intents and purposes.

One in the same. Huh? In the same of what? It doesn't make a lot of sense. One and the same, however, means something is exactly like something else.

I'd just assume. Assume what? You're welcome to assume whatever you'd like, but when politely declining an invitation to view your neighbor's toenail collection, you'd say, I'd just as soon as (or rather) poke my eyes out.

Could care less. Then why don't you? What you really mean, is that you couldn't care less about missing out on seeing those toenails.

I have to admit, this last one threw me when I came across it. Card shark. Describing a highly-skilled card player, the term is actually card sharp, as in "good" or "smart (even if you do play with the ferocity of a shark).

There are so many phrases and expressions that have lost their original meaning or spelling, and continue to be misused and we take them for granite. Oops. I mean, granted.

What are some other common sayings that often get misused? 

1 comment:

JC Lynne said...

When I was teaching, I had an entire segment called Tricky and weird included a lot of these including shoulda, their, they're and there and cause versus because. Oy!

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