– MAD Magazine
I’m a linguist by default. I’m sure it would benefit me greatly if I had a more thorough knowledge of our language and how words are or should be used.
I’ve been working in newspapers for a while, maybe long enough that my on-the-job training has yielded more understanding than I knew I had.
Regardless, I’ve come across several phrases over the years that have made me chuckle if only because they are so obviously wrong. I’m not the smartest guy, and maybe it’s not so smart for me to laugh when others use such phrases.
Hasn’t stopped me yet.
Taken for granite
I had never seen this one before my time at the Marshall County Tribune-Courier. One of our writers was trying to use the phrase “taken for granted” but had only ever heard it pronounced “taken for granite.” I’ve found misuse or misunderstanding of a phrase like this usually indicates that the person doesn’t know what the actual phrase means.
Some basketball teams like to utilize a fast-paced offense. Say that out loud. If you’re in the right (or wrong) frame of mind, it sounds a bit like “paste.” Instances of this mistake make more sense, even if the mistake itself makes none at all.
For all intensive purposes
“For all intents and purposes” is a pretty useless phrase anyway. However, if you’re intent on using it, let’s use it correctly, please.
It’s a doggy dog world
I think this phrase should have been retired after its most perfect use by Norm (George Wendt) in the television show “Cheers” – “It’s a dog-eat-dog world, Sammy, and I’m wearing Milkbone underwear.” Of course, that might have prevented Gloria (Sofia Vergara) of “Modern Family” from using the funny, non-sensical misinterpretation.
It’s a moo point/mute point
I’ve heard both of these for quite some time. If someone argues a point that is not currently relevant, it’s moot. It has nothing to do with cows or a person’s inability to speak.
I actually like hearing people say “literally” when they clearly mean “figuratively.”
Could care less
That’s not what you meant. If you really don’t care about something, you could NOT care less. If you could care less, that means you care at least a little.
All from the Department of Redundancy Department.
If you ever catch me using one (non-ironically, of course), please let me know. Or just laugh.
Justin McGill is general manager of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.