I'm a non-native speaker of English, and so is my wife. We were talking to a native speaker when at one point, my wife commented, "They should turn down the building." I've never heard of the phrase "turn down" meaning "demolish", so I thought her sentence was unidiomatic. But judging from the nonchalant reaction of the native speaker there, I'm not so sure. What do you say?
The proper way to say this is:
not "turn down".
Your wife must have misheard the original and turned it into "turn down". A common problem that even "native speakers" have!
Actually these have a term themselves:
The term eggcorn was coined by a professor of linguistics, Geoffrey Pullum, in September 2003, in response to an article by Mark Liberman on the website Language Log, a blog for linguists. Liberman discussed the case of a woman who substitutes the phrase egg corn for the word acorn, and argued that the precise phenomenon lacked a name. Pullum suggested using "eggcorn" itself as a label for the class of error. The phenomenon is very similar to the form of wordplay known as the pun, except that, by definition, the speaker (or writer) intends the pun to have some humorous effect on the recipient, whereas one who speaks or writes an eggcorn is unaware of the mistake.
ex-patriot instead of expatriate mating name instead of maiden name on the spurt of the moment instead of on the spur of the moment preying mantis instead of praying mantis
Lot's a publications/people/etc have (and do) made (make) the same mistakes - so it shouldn't be anything for your wife to feel too embarrassed about.