Questions arising from error (real or perceived): solecism, malapropism, mondegreens, eggcorns, disputed usages, so-called "corruption", folk etymologies, but also requests for interpretation when the text in question arguably contains an error, and questions which stem from a misunderstanding. Do ...

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58
votes
3answers
9k views

What is the error called when two letters are mistakenly swapped?

Generally this may be called typo but when particularly two letters of a word are mistakenly swapped, what is this error called? Some examples: teh > the fromat > format comptuer > computer
22
votes
7answers
29k views

Is “substract” (versus “subtract”) a proper word?

I read an article recently where the author used "substract" instead of "subtract". I'm more familiar with the latter word but after doing a bit of googling, it seems that both words are being used, ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

“a wottle of bine”, “a can of boot reer” and “holed and sealed” - What types of speech errors are these?

People often make these mistakes in speech on purpose, just for amusement. Sometimes, however, they are unintentional and prove even funnier. In this case, is there a specific term for them? e.g. ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

“Soft-peddle” vs. “Soft-pedal”: eggcorn blunder or sly play on words?

In chat the other day I asked the following question: "Recently I've been seeing writers using "soft-peddle" in print (in reputable publications, to boot) when I am certain the trope is ...
11
votes
4answers
925 views

What does “randomically” mean?

I've just read an O’Reilly book and encoutered the word randomically. I highly suspect this is a made up word, but a quick google found it in use here, here, and here. Is this some obscure technical ...
10
votes
2answers
710 views

What do you call it when someone misunderstands a homonym? [duplicate]

I once ran across a term for the error of misunderstanding the meaning or sense of a word because one doesn't know exactly what the word is. For example, someone mistakenly thinks that the phrase is ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

“Key thob” and “key fob”

I've been receiving emails at work inquiring about registering our key fobs. This is slightly disturbing to me as I've always called it a key thob. An internet search for thob tells me I really mean ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Alleged misuse of the word 'respective'

I was told I misused the word respective in the sentence 'If bilingual, please list the respective languages.' My understanding is that the word points to the prior mentioned subjects. Here's a ...
7
votes
2answers
331 views

Are there names for consonant-shifts when suffixes are added?

I saw a spelling mistake on an SO question: submittion. That got me wondering, is there a name for the shift of ‑mit‑ to ‑miss‑ in submission, permission, admission and so on? Are there other patterns ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Is “make due” now considered acceptable?

Whilst plodding through Patrick Rothfuss' "The Name of the Wind", I came across: Our dinner was nowhere near as grand as last night's. We made due with the last of my now-stale flatbread, dried ...
7
votes
6answers
392 views

How to assess “an access of butchness”

I read this phrase in Alan Bennett’s Diary years ago and found it so unusual I’ve never forgotten it. Italics mine: 8 December. Trying to find someone a Meccano set for Christmas, I’m reminded ...
7
votes
4answers
294 views

What's the term for introducing an error when you edit a sentence?

Several years ago, I recall learning an English term that described the following sort of error: I write (or begin writing) a sentence without error. I decide to change something in the sentence. I ...
6
votes
6answers
5k views

Word for when one uses the wrong word in a sentence

Specifically, I'm looking for the term for when a person uses a word correctly, but intends a different meaning. For example: I empathize with you. When the person really means: I ...
6
votes
3answers
894 views

How widely-accepted is “What do you got?” to Americans?

Watching A Stranger Among Us, I noticed that Melanie Griffith twice asked "What do you got?" I recognise this as an American construction which sounds strange to me — Brits invariably say either ...
6
votes
1answer
160 views

Is ‘Today, Japan’s old age social security system is running at a deficit, is the whole country” in Forbes magazine a right sentence? [closed]

I’m puzzled about the meaning of “is the whole country” in the following sentence of the article titled “Japan’s choice: Sink the welfare state or collapse – Whither Japan,” in October 21 Forbes ...
6
votes
2answers
309 views

Would the rejection of an argument because of a grammatical error be a type of logical fallacy?

Many people may have experienced situations (often online) where someone dismisses another's argument not on the merits of the argument, but because of a grammatical (or, more generally, mechanical) ...
5
votes
2answers
604 views

Meaning of “panegoric”

What does panegoric mean? Yes, it’s panegoric and not panegyric. The word is given in my module with the meaning “medicine that allays pain”, but I can’t find any reference. Is it correct?
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Use of “conscience” as verb

I’ve heard conscience used as a verb, in the phrase can’t conscience. For example, I can’t conscience taking credit for what I didn’t do. Is this use of conscience correct? From a Google search ...
5
votes
5answers
8k views

Is incorrect capitalization considered a spelling error?

Is incorrect capitalization, such as the lowercase "i" in can [this is not the sic you're after] i [this sic] have an if statement within a dialog box code? considered a spelling mistake, or ...
4
votes
4answers
426 views

What does “Toff's error” mean?

"He's invited the wife and I" and other similar sentences are referred to as Toff's error. What is, precisely, the meaning of this term?
4
votes
2answers
460 views

What is the error called when numbers are confused with letters?

In serial numbers etc., there are many cases where you can't tell if the intended character is a number or a letter. For example, the number 0 and the letter O, the number 1 and the letters l or I, ...
4
votes
2answers
836 views

What is the meaning of the phrase 'listing off'?

services Listing off registered services (nova-scheduler, nova-compute and so on) and their current state. The updated_at field is used to determine if a given service is considered healthy ...
4
votes
2answers
299 views

What is the name of combination, in error, of similar or related words? (E.g.: segueway)

Is there a technical term for combination, in error, of similar or related words? This question is prompted by the following malapropism or solecism, from an article by Elizabeth Montalbano in ...
4
votes
2answers
260 views

What is a “wreckless careerism”? [closed]

I have come across the following sentence: The quickness of her ascent, and the fact that she revamped each orchestra’s administration before suddenly moving on, has led some in music business ...
4
votes
0answers
48 views

Contrary-to-fact conditionals usage error [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I would have lost you” vs “If I had lost you” My question is about a usage error involving contrary-to-fact conditionals. Instead of something like this: If I knew ...
3
votes
5answers
16k views

Mixing up “quiet” and “quite”: spelling or grammar error?

Look at this sentence: It wasn't quiet what I wanted And this one: The music was too quite for me Obviously quiet and quite are mixed up. Is this considered a spelling mistake? In both ...
3
votes
3answers
439 views

Contexts where a comma means “and”

A comma is commonly used as a short form of the word and in newspaper headlines. In what other contexts is this convention common? This question came to mind as I was trying to parse the following ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“More that” vs. “more than” [closed]

Here is an example of something I occasionally encounter, and it always trips me up. The title of an applied mathematics book from Stanford University in 1959 is (bold mine) Partial Differential ...
3
votes
3answers
434 views

Isn’t a word missing?

I’m quoting a part of the article titled “Pakistan Sees Shared Intelligence Lapse” written by Alan Cowell in today’s (May 4) New York Time’s Asia Pacific section (online edition) simply by ...
3
votes
1answer
148 views

Is “Was” needed in the sentence “The woman, who was had married John Lennon has been blamed for pulling the group apart.” [closed]

I found the following paragraph in the article with the caption, "That Settles It: Yoko Ono Did Not Break Up Beatles” in Entertainment section of October 30 Time magazine: The Japanese artist and ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Is there a comma before the word until in the sentence below?

In this sentence: They are not taking their team photograph until Friday at 7:30. On my son’s punctuation test, he did not use a comma after photograph, and his teacher marked this “missing” ...
3
votes
1answer
260 views

Apostrophe and plurals of abbreviations [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym? I was in Middlesbrough yesterday and spotted: CJ’s Cafe So far, so good, I thought. A selection of the delights within ...
2
votes
1answer
200 views

Usage of “accrue” in “it accrued to me to gently ask” [closed]

A newage hippie Facebook friend just sent me this. I was just wondering if it was syntactically correct, It accrued to me to gently ask if you could consider extending the same respect, you would ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there a name for misusing a word (e.g., saying “Provincially, yes”)? [closed]

I read a mail in which someone replied to the question "Will he be attending the party?" by saying "Provincially, yes". Provincial means "of or concerning the regions outside the capital city of a ...
2
votes
2answers
425 views

What's the origin of the phrase “God's clean earth”, and how long has it been around? [closed]

"It isn't every day a man wakes up to discover he's a screaming bender with no more right to live on God's clean Earth than a weasel." - Dr. Leech, "Blackadder II" What's the origin of that ...
2
votes
4answers
169 views

Noun to describe a “typo-filled” letter

I am changing my e-mail signature on my phone to read: Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S4. Please do not mistake my brevity and/or misspellings for apathy and/or ignorance. I am looking for a ...
2
votes
1answer
510 views

What does “It dopes it really really well. Dope even” mean? [closed]

Recently I came across a stackoverflow comment for a post. It goes something like this. Dojo has an UpgradeBar that dopes this: Blah Blah Blah and then somebody commented the post It ...
2
votes
2answers
106 views

Is this a complete sentence or two? [closed]

Given the example (from a British novel, The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life) Well what did I expect who said it would be easy? I will not let this defeat me. I will persist. Is the first ...
2
votes
1answer
117 views

Use of [sic] when correcting factual errors in reprinted work

I have had to write a review of an interview, as the article's author has not given me permission to fully reprint it (I did ask, they didn't respond). I have instead quoted from the article and ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

Is there a word to describe this linguistic error?

Francis Galton originally used the term "regression to mediocrity" to refer to the phenomenon that children of very tall parents were on average less tall. More generally, the heights of children over ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

Why do lots of people use “seperate” instead of “separate”? [closed]

Catalan: "separar" English: "separate" French: "séparer" Galician: "separar" Italian: "separare" Latin: "separo" Portuguese: "separar" Romanian: "separa" Spanish: "separar" Sweedish: "separera" ...
2
votes
1answer
299 views

What does custom mean when it comes to parties? [closed]

I've seen different sets of people from around the country mention a "custom party" on written Halloween invitations. Does it simply mean costume (and just intentionally mis-spelled)? Or some specific ...
2
votes
2answers
524 views

Does ‘long-molared’ have any special meaning?

“You’re joking, Weasley!” said Malfoy, behind them. “You’re not telling me someone’s asked that to the ball? Not the long-molared Mudblood?” (Harry Potter 4 [US Version]: p.404)[Bold font is mine] ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

Erroring or Erring? [duplicate]

Is it more correct to say a computer program is erroring out, or it is erring out? Or are both statements grammatically incorrect?
1
vote
4answers
383 views

Can you say “Why Tom let Katie win”

Some one pointed to me that in this Star magazine from cover, the editor used the sentence "Why Tom let Katie win" instead of "Why did Tom let Katie win". Is it a correct form or is the grammatical ...
1
vote
2answers
107 views

Why “broke” and not “broken” in “If it ain't broke, don't fix it”?

If it ain't broke, don't fix it an idiom says. Why isn't it If it ain't broken, don't fix it On the other hand the lyrics of a song "Victory" played by a band "Deliverance" are as follows: ...
1
vote
2answers
936 views

Is there a difference between “brainstorming” and “mindstorming”? [closed]

Some people use brainstorming, others use mindstorming. I could not find the difference between the two words.
1
vote
3answers
210 views

What type of word is “abnomaly”?

I've got a coworker that frequently uses the word, "abnomaly", not "abnormal" and not "anomaly", but "abnomaly". While the types of these words differ (i.e. adjective versus noun), the meanings are ...
1
vote
3answers
431 views

What does the usage of “under” in this context mean? [closed]

What does under mean here, how do you define it? From a biography: Shum graduated from Arroyo Grande High School in 2000. He started dancing with his high school dance company team and ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

If “latter” comes first, and “former” comes second, what comes third? Or fourth? [closed]

If we had an hour long discussion, and discussed 5 topics: A, B, C, D and E in order, to the extent that we are talking about "E" right now, if "D" is the latter, and "C" is the former, what is "B" to ...