Sites for Sore Eyes

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Sites for Sore Eyes

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jun 27, 2009, 3:08pm

Am I alone in seeing a degradation in the perceived distinction between 'site', 'sight' and 'cite'?

So far, in addition to the usage I use as a title, I've observed 'line of site', referring to surveying details for a site, and I've seen in a thesis the phrase 'sighted references' when 'cited references' would be appropriate.

Do people read any more? If so, what's their level of 'understanding'?

jun 27, 2009, 5:54pm

Perhaps they don't read; all three words could be confused if you are writing something you are more accustomed to hearing than reading or writing.

Makes me think of trying to pronounce a word you've never heard spoken, only seen written.

jun 27, 2009, 8:00pm

I haven't seen this problem with sight, but have noted the use of "slight of hand" for the expression "sleight of hand." Sloppiness? Or is it worse than that.

jun 28, 2009, 12:33am

Well, could just be bad editing. I trust I'm not the only one who has typed site instead of sight before when I meant the other (and, yes, I do know the difference...). I do this with other homophones as well (their, there, they're - ugh what a mess), as I imagine everyone does. And if you don't edit thoroughly (and that's a particularly pernicious type of mistake to catch), well, you could get that result.

> 3

Sounds like a classic "eggcorn" ( "Eggcorns often involve replacing an unfamiliar, archaic, or obscure word with a more common or modern word ('baited breath' for 'bated breath')". Or, then again, could be also be a typographical mistake :)

jun 28, 2009, 3:39am

One of the things that I think is interesting about the cited examples (heh, no pun intended) is that they could work, if you didn't know what they were supposed to be.

I mean, "sighted references" instead of "cited" maybe isn't right in context, but it makes me grin to think of a lazy writer using that instead of properly citing. Oh, yeah, prof, these are the articles I saw when I was putting that paper together...

And then a "site" can also be a "sight," which means a "sight for sore eyes" would obviously have soothing colors and perhaps dim lighting - unless it's a website, where it would be grey with large black text, no?

Now that it's occurred to me, I think I'm going to have to sit here and try to think of more ways that sight/site/cite could be interchanged and still make some kind of sense.

jun 28, 2009, 4:44am

The one that drives me to distraction is lose/loose. It seems to be a disease that is spreading.

jun 28, 2009, 7:01am

Can't say I've noted this problem very much but I'd tend to go along with #4 in thinking it's likely to be a mixture of typos plus bad editing. And some people rely too much on spellcheckers. Although perhaps we are becoming a less literate society. Not helped by educational theorists who believe primary school children should write to express themselves and never mind the grammar.

#2: trying to pronounce a word you've never heard spoken. I hate to admit this but I was into my 20s before I knew how to say "misled" — I always used to say "my-zled". Those electronic dictionaries that say the word when you click on it can be helpful with some very unusual words.

jun 28, 2009, 7:28am

I imagined a wrong pronunciation of deictic for decades, but I console myself that I was in good company.

Redigeret: jun 28, 2009, 9:00am

Another one coming to mind that stands more chance of causing real confusion is 'diffuse/defuse'. I always aim in speech to pronounce the latter 'dee-fuze' to clarify what I mean.

How many times have I heard the like of: 'the dangerous situation has been "diffused"'? Surely that makes the situation MORE dangerous, not less.

jun 28, 2009, 11:24am

I'm with the OP in thinking it comes from having never read the words or phrases, only having heard them, and then trying to write them. "All intensive purposes," anyone?

Those of us who can use words correctly but not say them right suffer from the opposite problem -- having expanded our vocabulary primarily through reading, rather than through conversation. My downfall was fatigue, which at age eight or so I pronounced "fat-i-gew," much to the amusement of my dad, to whom I'd been reading.

jun 28, 2009, 11:41am

I was in my teens before I ever heard "genre" pronounced; my mental pronunciation was "jenn-EAR." I remember a girl in high school reading aloud with "epitome" coming out "EP-it-tome". It is the curse of those who are better read than the speakers around them.

"All intensive purposes," anyone?
I love that one. I've seen similar ones in the news crawls. I may have to start collecting them.

jun 28, 2009, 12:07pm

Judging from internet usage, the level of 'understanding' is pretty abysmal. I can't recall seeing "cite" used properly in some time; the verb is used as a noun instead of "citation" constantly. People who ought to know better fall prey to asking for "a cite".

I can see going for the simpler spelling of "site", "nite", etc., but I really wonder how many who use the former know there's a difference between "site" and "sight".

I suppose you could "sight" references if you were just glancing at them in passing. . .

jun 28, 2009, 12:10pm

lose/loose is even a pair with different pronunciation! I've noticed that one often, too.

jun 28, 2009, 12:13pm

And then there is the one that probably bugs me unreasonably that is close to universal: the possessive its with the intrusive apostrophe 8-(

jun 28, 2009, 1:36pm


Oh, you are so right. I read an entire novel where every instance of "its" and "it's" was reversed. I wanted to slap the copy editor upside the monitor with a global search/replace.

jun 28, 2009, 2:50pm

#10 and #11: all intensive purposes. That one's a bit like a "mondegreen" after Lady Mondegreen. Comes in the verse "They have killed the Earl of Moray and laid him on the green". I'm just recalling from memory so may have got the Earl's title wrong.

jun 28, 2009, 2:52pm

11> I did that with "chaos" - in fact, I still can't see it written and not mentally pronounce it to sound like a combination of Chai and Cheerios. I have no idea where I got that pronunciation from, and it's not like I'd never heard the word before - I was sixteen when finally corrected!

Well, there was also "monotonous" and "mischievous" that I learned from L.M.Montgomery and managed to totally mangle when I was twelve.

But I also thought of another eggcorn that drives me batty: from worst to worst. It seems to come about because "worse to" sounds a lot like "worst to" when you say it out loud.

jun 28, 2009, 3:30pm

#17: keristars "from worst to worst."

Propagated by Billy Joel: "worst comes to worst". (

jun 28, 2009, 3:35pm

And thus my age shows!

jun 28, 2009, 8:08pm

>10 rowmyboat: I had similar problems as a child with words I'd read but never heard pronounced. For example, I was a preacher's kid, and every Sunday in the bulletin I saw doxology, which naturally in my head, according to *English* stress patterns, I pronounced DOXoLOGy. Then also, I'd read the intros to a whole lot of books as a kid before I found out not to say PREE-fayce.

As far as the original post, I think a huge part of my being able to spell and differentiate similar-sounding or similarly-spelled words is reading, reading, and more reading, not just to learn isolated words, but to familiarize myself with how they appear in context, or should I say, many different contexts. Many people just haven't done the same, or haven't had the same opportunities. I don't think it's as simple as calling people sloppy, although, when it comes to my more highly educated (Ph.D. as opposed to my lowly master's) and much more highly paid coworkers who can't get its/it's, sight/site, lose/loose, or your/you're correct, I have to wonder what went wrong.

jun 29, 2009, 12:50pm

I spent a lot of my youth playing tabletop RPGs, and the rule books often used the word "melee" to describe hand-to-hand combat. My friends and I were well into high school before we learned that it had a French pronunciation, as opposed to how we had always said it: MEE-lee.

Now I work in a field where I have frequent occasion to write the word "disburse," and it's not at all uncommon to read reports where people meant "disburse," but came up instead with "disperse."

jun 29, 2009, 1:16pm

A timely post on this site/cite/sight

has just reminded me that discrete/discreet must be included in this thread...

jun 29, 2009, 1:19pm

I was sure fiery was pronounced feery sometime in early high school and forced my brother to look it up in the dictionary before I'd believe him. I'd pronounced it the wrong way in my head so many times and how often do people have the opportunity to hear the word fiery in normal conversation.

I had a friend who would always pronounce the w in sword.

jun 29, 2009, 1:46pm

To: PhaedraB

Similar to "all intensive purposes" is "to WRECK havoc" for "to wreak havoc" (emphasis added.) It was common in the 60s and 70s; havenʻt heard or read it lately. Has a certain weird logic to it, as "all intensive purposes" does, though I suppose that isnʻt why these stretchers get said. The 2 phrases, even in their correct form, sound as if they "should" have something to do with "wrecking" or "intensity".

Websterʻs Collegiate labels "wreak" as archaic. The primary use, Webster says, is always connected with punishment or revenge. The sense of "to give free play to..." is called secondary. Iʻm assuming that "wreak" is obsolete, other than in he phrase "to wreak havoc".


jun 29, 2009, 6:31pm

>24 rolandperkins: My Middle English is a bit rusty, but when I read your post, I suddenly thought of the "werre and wrake and wonder" that at times Britain has seen from the first stanza of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight."

jun 29, 2009, 9:47pm

An interesting note: Wreak is actually an Anglo-Saxon leftover from when before work was metathesised from wreccan to worcan.

jun 30, 2009, 3:00am

To Grammargoddess:

Thanks for the reminder about opening line of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". Itʻs another of the books that Iʻve been intending for a long time to read. My middle English is also rusty; in fact, ,no formal study of it, Iʻm only self-taught.

From what I know, your philology and WillSteedʻs (m/26) is right.

jul 2, 2009, 11:10am

The examples cited (we might also say "sighted") above are evidence of a sad reality of our schools where the emphasis is often on social, politically correct indoctrination rather than in serious academic instruction. This phenomenon is not limited to the English language - I have just read a book in Portuguese where the same type of errors abound.There will always be a portion of the speakers of any language that is unskilled in the written form of the language; unfortunately, it appears that their number is increasing in proportion.

Redigeret: jul 3, 2009, 9:29am

There will always be a portion of the speakers of any language that is unskilled in the written form of the language; unfortunately, it appears that their number is increasing in proportion.

Actually, I don't think that this is entirely the case. In previous generations, the unskilled were more or less totally illiterate: now there are few illiterates, but a larger proportion of the population with a modicum of education. What is increasing is the access of the linguistically inept to mass communication media: you no longer have to be able to write properly before you can disseminate your scrawlings to the public.

In the case of word-confusion, computer spell-checkers also have a lot to answer for. But I often find myself writing "there" in a hurry, and have to go back and correct it to "their".

I see a lot of "loose" for "lose". Also "loathe" for "loath".

jul 3, 2009, 10:17am

The poor state of literacy must surely be related to the literary standards of the teachers. At least in the UK, standards fell dramatically in the seventies-eighties-nineties, when the importance of literacy decreased in importance for the hiring of teachers, for a variety of reasons. I worked at a UK university in the seventies, and the standards evident from items posted on staff noticeboards was appalling.

Can graduating students be expected to exceed the skills of their mentors? Ad, since it is these students who form the pool from which future teachers are drawn, is there an alternative to decline?

jul 3, 2009, 2:59pm

#30: I'm sure there's a good deal of truth in what you say. And there's a current in many school staffrooms which think it elitist to aspire to high levels of literacy. The needs of our more able (I don't mean geniuses) boys and girls are ignored and their potential not brought out because of spurious political/educational theories. And in the UK many less able but hard-working children do not attain their full potential because of disruptive elements.

Redigeret: jul 3, 2009, 3:42pm

Oh dear. Another thread in this group that's taking the "Oh noes" direction. Might I offer a brief pre-emptive summary by way of easy reference?

Kids these days, change, hell, hand-basket, aaargh. There: that ought to sum it up ;p

Seriously, people: what is the problem? Going from spelling pronunciations and eggcorns à la "cited/sighted reference" to decline (a much-loved word in this group) of teaching standards, and indeed literacy and society at large is too silly for words. Inferring "linguistically inept" from occasional spelling pronunciations and eggorns is equally silly. And if I may say so in all honesty: People who claim such things take themselves or the values they stand for much too seriously, in my opinion.

Typos and eggcorns are relatively frequent, quite natural, and, indeed, to be expected from people who write a lot and who are, therefore, likely to frequently use homonyms. When people write, they are primarily concerned with the contents of what they're writing, with arranging thoughts and ideas, and possibly the speed with which they are producing their text. Substituting one homonym or -graph for another is very often nothing but a case of muscle memory (there/their/they're is a case in point). Correcting such errors is done at the editing stage -- provided the text genre is one that needs editing.

That said, I seriously wonder if is there any factual evidence for this alleged increase of eggcorns and sundry errors? Between, say, the seventies and now? I'm not talking about anecdotal evidence and forty-years-old memories, but about a statistical comparison of comparable genres across decades. Does anyone know of such a study? Of course, relevant social changes in that period need to be taken into account, such as the heavy stress on formal academic prose as the standard for all writing that has become a lot less dominant -- thank God. And of course, the advent of the web just allowed a greater portion of the public to get their comments and their writings out where others could see them; so a decline in writing standards would have to involve a proportionate increase in eggcorns, not just a numerical one.

Much of this so-called "decline" might be due to the recency illusion (things you've just noticed appear to be recent, even though they were around when you weren't noticing them or experiencing them directly), and to the fact that anything you pay attention to will automatically increase in perceived frequency and importance. Not to mention societal changes and the explosion of informal, editing-free text genres, and changing attitudes towards the status and the range of applicable contexts for the Standard Language and formal academic writing (people are a lot more relaxed about RP, for instance, than they were in the seventies). In all, writing standards today are not that different from those in the seventies; but standards in the seventies did not apply to, say, emails, texting, tweeting, IRC, etc, and these genres can and should not be compared to formal essay writing. Not on the content level, and not on the spelling and editing level either.

I don't believe in a general societal decline in literacy, or in blaming teachers for pupils' attitudes towards writing (whatever those may be). In this day and age, more people go to school every year than the year before; more books are being published every year; and the sheer amount of texts produced increases steadily as well. How any of this can spell "decline" or "linguistic ineptitude" is beyond me.

edited for incorrect quote

jul 3, 2009, 4:20pm

I don't know about teachers and English, but I know math is a big problem.

I do typing and data entry for my dad, and he occasionally does math workshops for elementary school teachers in hopes of improving their math teaching. I type the teachers' end-of-course comments, and hear over and over again - "I never learned this as an education student in (whatever year)," "I haven't done algebra for 20 years," "Re-learning calculus has made me reconsider my approach to teaching my third-graders."

Theoretically these teachers, who clearly benefit from a math refresher, could use an English refresher as well, although I think it's probably less of a problem because of the right-brained/left-brained thing - people who go into elementary teaching are probably not born mathematicians.

That said, I know in my elementary school we did a lot with homonyms and I have never had a problem with them, even though every time I see the word "loose" I think "loose like a goose" and want to tear my brain out of my skull and kick it repeatedly.

But there are a ton of words I don't know how to pronounce because I've only ever read them.

(Written under the influence of Jack&Coke at a high altitude.)

jul 4, 2009, 6:26am

Oh dear. Another spoiler that's taking the line 'It's happening ... It must be OK ... Live with it!'

I am living with it. But I don't like it. Maybe I'm wrong in assuming others can't be bothered to persist reading the thoughts of someone who can't be bothered to be precise. I read and enjoyed the thoughts of Petroglyph because that writer HAS bothered, even if every word didn't have to be chiselled into the rock!

There's a big difference between odd mistakes (I made one myself once! LoL) and chronic ignorance.

The quantity of written word emerging daily before our eyes seems to be expanding dramatically in the modern electronic age. Do we not owe it to future generations to teach them how to get their thoughts across?

jul 4, 2009, 7:13am

The thing is, if you use the wrong word IT MEANS SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHAT IS INTENDED. If a sentence doesn't make sense, then I have to go back and read it again to try and figure out what the writer was intending to convey. I have to read technical documents at work, which are sometimes pretty complex. If I have to read through a document two times - the first to try and figure out what should have been written - then that is a waste of my time.

jul 4, 2009, 7:43am

I tend to agree with 34 and 35 above, in that we are just accepting under-education and under-performance as inevitable and not really so bad - this appears to be the position adopted by Petroglyph. I don't direct my criticisms at the teachers themselves since I believe that most of them are quite capable, but at the educational systems that have abandoned the higher mission of preparing young people for a more functional and prosperous life. Educational systems have become the playground of purveyors of ideology, to the detriment first of the students, and ultimately of society. I am not a native speaker of English (I learned it as an adult). Having made a reasonable effort to learn English spelling and achieving acceptable results, I see no reason why students shouldn't be given the task of learning as well. It may be a little confusing, even amusing at times, but certainly learnable. I understand that a higher percentage of people are (or: is) using the written language than in the past, but that is not a good reason for a proportionally higher number of people to write poorly. No, Petroglyph, I have not seen a study that corroborates what I am saying - I just read a lot and this is my personal observation. If yours is different, I will not argue with that.

jul 4, 2009, 11:16am

Two words spring to mind: confirmation bias.

jul 4, 2009, 11:55am

OK, I've been there in high schools, and in the one where I spent the last 18 years, only 3 of them also teaching English(and always German), I saw far too much shift of emphasis toward "social skills" and pandering to student tastes(teenage novels instead of even the lightest of good literature) to be surprised at what these former students perpetrate on the internet. When good students in German class remarked of grammar shared by English and German "I never learned that in English class!" it was pretty obvious what was not being taught there. And I retired 10 years ago.

Redigeret: jul 10, 2009, 4:08pm

21> Opposite effect - I read an article in Dragon Magazine (you'd think they'd get it right!) in which the author repeatedly spelled it mellay. (melee is the actual word.) AGGGGGHHH!

32>Factual evidence - first, I'm a natural proofreader. That is, when I read something, I see and notice the errors. Usually it doesn't bother me, especially if it's a good book (I'm talking here primarily of fiction, and mostly science fiction/fantasy because that's what I read most), but I notice it. I just read two books in quick succession - Finding Magic by Tanya Huff, published 2007; excellent book, great stories (it's a collection), lots and lots of typos including ones that a spell-check would have found. i.e.: 'a sliver swirl of fish', 'standing a mid a group', 'stripped to their breaches' - that's what I found in 10 pages of two stories (none of the spell-check ones, though). Next I read The Generals' President by John Dalmas, published 1988. Although the book wasn't nearly as good, I didn't notice a single typo in it. Admittedly not by the same publisher, but I read a lot of recent books from Baen (who published The Generals' President) and the typo level is about what I saw in Finding Magic. So - current experience of 1988 vs 2007 level of proofreading in a published work.

I agree that there's a lot more casual writing that's available for others to see nowadays, including some that deliberately misspells to save space (chat, Twitter - l337 doesn't count). But that shouldn't affect - shouldn't be allowed to affect - more formal work.

And I definitely agree with Noisy (msg 35). Just for fiction reading, if I have to go back and reread a sentence to figure out what the author _meant_ to say, it's almost guaranteed to throw me out of the story - which makes me less likely to finish the book and _much_ less likely to buy anything by that author/from that publisher again. And when that sort of thing gets into technical work - that's just not acceptable.

ETA - though Petroglyph's first bit made me laugh. I love that Petrarch has (among) the first (written, surviving) complaint along the lines of 'children these days have no manners, not like when _we_ were young...'.

jul 13, 2009, 2:12pm

39> lots and lots of typos including ones that a spell-check would have found. i.e.: 'a sliver swirl of fish', 'standing a mid a group', 'stripped to their breaches'

You're asking spell check to do a job for which it is not designed. "Sliver" and "breaches" are a perfectly good, properly spelled words; it's only the context that makes them wrong. Same with "a" and "mid"; two perfectly good words, just inappropriate in that spot. Spell check doesn't catch homonyms and it doesn't know or care if you meant "its" or "it's." Grammar checkers may help, but there is no substitute for a good set of eyes. (The writer's eyes don't usually help; the brain behind those eyes reads what it knows is supposed to be there :-)

jul 13, 2009, 10:23pm

Yes...finish the quote, please.

ones that a spell-check would have found. i.e.: 'a sliver swirl of fish', 'standing a mid a group', 'stripped to their breaches' - that's what I found in 10 pages of two stories (none of the spell-check ones, though)

When I went back to get some examples, I didn't find (in my two-minute scan of a few pages) any of the ones that spell-check should have found. When reading the book, however, I noticed several not-a-word typos.

And yes, the examples I gave required someone who didn't know the stories to actually read the book and look at the words in it. But shouldn't that be SOP for a publisher? I know funds have been tight and are getting tighter, but skipping that sort of read-through is getting into the sloppy mindset that this whole thread is complaining about.

jul 13, 2009, 11:43pm

41> But shouldn't that be SOP for a publisher?

It used to be, but not no more.

aug 23, 2009, 6:08pm

ref #11
It'll cost ya a nominal egg.

aug 23, 2009, 7:47pm

a nominal leg -- that's the first time I've seen that one! It's not even included in the eggcorn database -- which you should check out if you're interested in these malapropisms. It's a refreshing look at what people make of language material they have only heard rather than seen in writing.

aug 26, 2009, 10:22am

I frequently hear 'off one's own bat' rendered clearly as 'off one's own back'!

Redigeret: aug 26, 2009, 11:10am

I noticed a sudden jump of misprinted words in published books just about the time spell-checking took off.

I think my son (high school senior) is going to be pulled into helping with his school's literary magazine this year. He went in a day or two after the last issue was published and pointed a few out to the teacher advisor that she had missed. But Steven reads a lot, and I have to correct his pronunciation of words quite often.

Redigeret: aug 26, 2009, 5:17pm

>46 MarthaJeanne:
i But Steven reads a lot, and I have to correct his pronunciation of words quite often

Today, in a conversation with a New Zealander, the word antipodean came up -- which, it turned out, I'd been pronouncing the wrong way, because I'd only ever seen it in writing. I pronounced it with the primary stress on -po- and the secondary on an-, rather than placing the primary stress on -de-, with a secondary stress on -ti-.

It is my humble personal opinion that this stress pattern makes no real sense when compared to the (non-English) morphology: the stress isn't on the word stems, 'anti and 'podis, but on what originally was an affix. But then again, Latin is, for almost all intents & purposes, a dead language, (and who knows about the antipodes anyway?) so it is only to be expected that rare words borrowed from Latin are subject to odd pronunciations.

aug 27, 2009, 4:27am

#47: Petroglyph "Latin is, for almost all intents & purposes, a dead language"

More to the point, so is Greek :)

aug 27, 2009, 7:59am

>48 jimroberts:, Right, "antipode" is from Greek, not Latin. That threw me for a while.

I think probably the English pronunciation of "antipodean" preserves the Greek pronunciation, rather than deviates from it. The Greek word from which it derives would have been something like antipodos. The ancient Greek system of accented syllables differs from the English one in several respects, one of them being that it uses the same pattern of stresses whether a word is made up of affix + root, or just root. So Xenophon's classic, the Anabasis, made up of ana + basis, is actually pronounced an-A-ba-sis, not AN-a-BA-sis, the way that we English-speakers would pronounce a similar word.

If I remember correctly, in words of four or more syllables, (ancient) Greek wants to place the stress on the third to last syllable. In words with two or three syllables, it wants to place the stress on the second to last syllable. Thus, an-TI-po-dos, not AN-ti-PO-dos. From there getting to our pronunciation of "antipodean" is easy.

aug 27, 2009, 9:24am

jimroberts, polutropon: thanks for the explanation. I should have checked my sources :)

aug 27, 2009, 12:31pm

My Liddell & Scott shows the original word as Antipodes (ἀντίποδες), and derived from ἀντίπους. (The little thing (smooth breathing mark) over the ἀ indicates that you don't put an h sound (rough breathing) before the α.

ἀντίπους is an adjective meaning with the feet opposite, or of one at the Antipodes. Pous, sometimes podos is the word for foot in Ancient Greek.

okt 29, 2009, 11:36am

Our office manager, a 40-something woman with a college education, always says "for all intensive purposes". She also talks about the "doggy-dog world" we live in. Our boss, who is in his mid-60's and extremely proud of his Ivy League education, speaks of having a "rough road to hoe", and getting things "off center base". He also says "irregardless", but I've called him on that one repeatedly over the years. He always admits he knows better, but "it just comes out".

okt 29, 2009, 2:48pm

#52: laytonwoman3rd

"off center base"? Presumably it's an eggcorn, but of what?

okt 29, 2009, 3:18pm

#52: The first two must be "all intents and purposes" and "dog eat dog" but I'm stumped with "rough road to hoe" and "off center base". Put me out of my misery by telling us the answer.

okt 29, 2009, 3:31pm

>54 PossMan: Well, especially as fields are cultivated in rows, then we can easily see the first one that stumped you should be "a rough row to hoe." This, of course, almost exactly sounds like " a rough road to hoe."

The second? I haven't really a clue; but I'd suspect it's a conflation of "off center" and "off base."

okt 29, 2009, 4:49pm

I have heard it as "a tough row to hoe"

okt 29, 2009, 4:58pm

>56 suitable1: I have heard it both ways. The one with "rough" has better alliteration, though.

okt 29, 2009, 6:02pm

Rough, tough and hard row to hoe are all used.

I suppose #55: msladylib has it right, "off center base" is indecision between "off center" and "off base".

okt 29, 2009, 7:00pm

"And he's out at second! That finished the inning"

nov 1, 2009, 4:49pm

I believe Mr. Managing Partner has confused or conflated "Off dead center", meaning to move one way or the other, and "get to first base", meaning to make a meaningful start. He generally uses his compound when he wants to get a case moving after it has been dormant for a while. And of course, a "tough row to hoe" is what he ought to say instead of "rough road".

dec 28, 2009, 9:03pm

How funny. My son always said "I'm bored of this" when he was under 7 and wanted us to get going NOW! And I always thought it was a riot and often use it now when I'm trying to be funny. Looks like some folks might think otherwise.
What drives me crazy, though, is "advice" and "advise." Though the other examples given resonate with me as well. I've always been an avid reader - but was too shy to talk much until high school - so that probably saved me from embarrassment. My father pronounced everything in his own special way (think Archie Bunker - his pronunciation, not his view of the world).

I've also know several people who say "abdomen" abDOmen instead of my usual ABdomen. And then there's the student who received a corrected paper from one of my colleagues who commented on her "hyperbole" She asked him later "What is a hyperBOWL?"