Does such a word exist?

An example:

Do good.

Supposing that my intention in saying "Do good!" was actually "Do well (on your test)!", the sentence still parses correctly as "Do good (deeds)!"

I will attempt to think of more examples and update this if/when I do.

This seems related to a pun in some way, but I was unable to find information about it. (Without knowing the word to begin with, I find it very difficult to navigate wikipedia when looking for "pun-related" words. I.e. It took me forever to find tom swifty and paraprosdokian.)

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    Also, this question, in which the phrase "of all times" was used in the wrong way. – Thursagen Sep 16 '11 at 7:30
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    Do note that when someone uses "Do good" to say "Do well", that this is not in anyway incorrect grammatically, but only semantically(!). – Unreason Sep 16 '11 at 9:42
  • @Unreason: isn't that begging the question? If "Play good" is ungrammatical, "Do good" is equally so; the fact that in another context it would be proper seems irrelevant. Or do you consider that a word is not misspelled if, by chance, the misspelling takes the form of another genuine word? – Tim Lymington Sep 16 '11 at 10:24
  • @TimLymington, if the word is misspelled in such a way that it takes form of another word, then indeed you may say that there are no spelling errors in the resulting sentence. If you know what was supposed to be written you may call it misspelling. The thing is that you need to know what was meant - and that is the matter of semantics. So, in fact I believe that in label this as primarily a matter of semantics (and only latter matter of grammar, syntax or spelling) I think I assume less of initial points as compared to calling it ungrammatical or misspelled (where you assume meaning). – Unreason Sep 16 '11 at 11:52
  • If you're after examples, the Adam and Joe radio show (and podcast) has a feature called 'Eggcorns'. The podcast is at bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/adamandjoe, but a quick google shows it seems to have spawned a website or two: eggcorns.lascribe.net/contribute , for example. – Greg Sep 16 '11 at 11:56

There are a few names for (rhetoric) vices that refer to using wrong words or wrong expressions at wrong places.

You are probably looking for acyrologia,

An incorrect use of words, especially the use of words that sound alike but are far in meaning from the speaker's intentions. Note: Malapropisms are a kind of acyrologia.

or malapropism,

A malapropism is an act of misusing or the habitual misuse of similar sounding words, especially with humorous results.

Related vice is also catachresis,

The use of a word in a context that differs from its proper application.

You might want to go through the list of vices to better define what you are looking for in according to existing classifications.

  • +1 Nice term, "acryologia". I'll try to remember that! – Thursagen Sep 16 '11 at 9:03
  • from Gk. a, "not", kyros, "authority,"and logos, "speech". Also sp. acirilogia, acyron, improprietas – Unreason Sep 16 '11 at 9:48
  • I'm not entirely sure that any of these fully encapsulates the idea, but they're all very close. – Evan Cordell Sep 22 '11 at 1:25

I think @Unreason's answer is fantastic, especially catachersis.

These kinds of errors could be considered solecisms, but the pun-like element is an interesting twist.

Generally, puns are understood as intentional wordplay. Here, there's a tension between an inadvertent mistake, and an outcome which has a double-meaning, or can be understood as being as being a pun within a certain frame of reference.

  • Good link to solecism, it is certainly related to the issue. However, OP specifically wants figures that are grammatical, which disqualifies it. – Unreason Sep 16 '11 at 9:47
  • @Unreason -- I think you're probably right, though I wasn't certain from the OP's question that grammatical correctness was assumed. I wasn't taking 'parsable' to mean it absolutely adhered to a strict grammar, only that it was understandable from within the framework of that grammar. – jbelacqua Sep 16 '11 at 16:58

The use of ‘good’ as an adverb meaning something like ‘in a satisfctory manner’ is no more than a non-standard dialect form. It is found in the comments of British football supporters who allegedly say ‘The boy done good.’

  • I realize, it was purely an example. Where I live it's more common to hear good as adverb than to hear "well" at all. – Evan Cordell Sep 16 '11 at 16:18

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