Take this sentence:

"If people are lost when they start out, they usually just keep getting...loster." — from "Don't Make Me Think"

Obviously "loster" isn't a word, but I see this turn of phrase quite often. How would I describe this formula?


3 Answers 3


The intentional use of bad or incorrect grammar to make a humorous point is called a "solecism".

This was the most unkindest cut of all.
--Julius Caesar, Shakespeare


The term is 'Paronym' but the terms most striking and of greater currency, are

  • Malapropism


  • Dogberryism

It is the act of using an incorrect word in place of one that is similar in pronunciation and the effect is ludicrous. The words owe their origin to the characters of the selfsame names of Mrs. Malaprop (a character in 'The Rivals' by Sheridan) or Dogberry (from " Much Ado About Nothing "). The mistakes as such are named after them.

To Mrs.Malaprop, an alligator can replace allegory and one may hear her say, " Illiterate (obliterate) him quite from your memory".

Dogberry is no better. He says, " Our Watch, sir, comprehended two auspicious persons "(apprehended/ suspicious). President George Bush is a great artist of Malapropism.

Some examples:

  • A rolling stone gathers no moth(moss).
  • Having one wife is called monotony
  • Patience is a virgin(virtue).
  • He is a man of great statue(stature).


A type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people.

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