MLP: Drop eggcorns from yon tenterhooks

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READ, people; read literature! Please, and urge others to follow suit (do the same, like a card game). So many commonly abused and misused phrases — which the Brits call eggcorns — are simply a matter of inadequate exposure to good writers. Easily resolved.

“Sounds like” does not make a language, Dear Reader. Do not let logic fall from the tenterhooks of communication! Tenters, you know, were wooden frames from which cloth hung, by hooks not at all “tender.”

Covered good and well, Mrs. Language Person should have (not should of) and has — and quite well at that. Piqued your interest in her admonitions, lest your interest peek or peak instead (what cheeky interest!). She proceeded to enlighten in columns hereby preceded.

Nevertheless, so many more well-crafted phrases similarly suffer displacement by senselessness, illogic, and worse: Intentional aversion to books.


Lest meaningful language, and the clear communication it once represented, become moot (as in irrelevant and not mute, which is that silence button on your vocabulary-killing TV remote), your MLP begs your attention to another futile attempt to shed light on (not shade, which conveys the opposite!) commonly slaughtered sayings:

For all intents and purposes. Meaning by design, or practically. Not for all “intensive purposes” — which would mean what, a focused purpose, as opposed to a cursory or superficial purpose?

I couldn’t care less. If you could care less, then you actually do care. Which MLP seriously doubts.

Fall by the wayside. Not the waste side; is there an efficient side for one’s interest or endeavor to fall? Come on.

Self-deprecating. (Not depreciating, unless you’re slowly losing economic value.) To deprecate is to disapprove, in this case of oneself. Go on, MLP won’t stop you.

Regardless. Poor “irregardless.” It’s not a word, but is included in the dictionary merely because “regardless” is so often butchered, and simply defined as “regardless.” So skip the middle man and just say regardless.

Jibe (with) that. You can’t jive with it, unless you’re talking about music and movement, baby.

Tongue in cheek. Not tongue and cheek, or are you an anatomist? Perhaps a carnivore with unusual cravings? Imagine if you will the snide expression of irony, perhaps sarcasm — such as the one on this Snitty Old Biddy’s face as she closes yet another unheeded chapter in her crusade against misuse. See that ugly old tongue thrust sideways against her cheek after yet another oh-so-impatient correction?

It’s. Not. Random. Unless it happened purely by chance. Random does not mean unusual or weird, and it’s definitely not cool.

Time to nip it in the bud. (Butt — really? How gauche.) As one nips the bud of a rose, Dear Reader. What would you want with ... Your MLP can’t even say it.


Mrs. Language Person thanks Mr. Larry Person for his amused (entertained) interest in today’s topic, but now bemused (bewildered) and without further ado (fuss) she bids adieu (goodbye) to return to the solitary confinement required by her sensitive nature. Grammar questions and corrections welcome at

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