Friday, February 4, 2011

Whoever Spelt It Dealt It!

Last night my little family crowded in our bed and watched an episode of Star Trek (original series). Yeah, we’re dorks. It’s the one show we watch together with minimal grumbling. So, we’re watching Spock struggling through “pon farr,” which I think means he was in heat or something—I dunno—when a funky smell wafted through the room. 
I glanced over to my husband, who immediately said, “Don’t look at me.”
We’ve played this game many times before so I continued to glare, hoping to discourage any further nastiness from invading my nostrils. Then a little giggle turned my attention to my daughter, who stared back at me with her big chocolate eyes. She may have looked as innocent as Winona Ryder with an armful of clothes, but her guilty giggles said otherwise.
“Are you kidding me?” my husband said. “That was impressive!”
“I got gas,” she answered, rubbing her tummy.
“Flaggulence?” my husband said. He’s been teaching her bigger words lately, so he couldn’t resist popping in a good one, and I couldn’t resist correcting him.
“Flatulence, you mean. The word is flatulence.”
We debated for a bit as another funk permeated the air. When he finally conceded to me, I started thinking about all the words I’ve heard people say incorrectly.
In my critique group, we’ve all had a few doosers. My sunshine and roses friend (she’s the happiest person I know) corrected my ’script when I wrote, “twitter patted.” Her chicken scrapes in the margin suggested I change it to “twitter painted.” She swore on a stack of bibbles that Thumper coined the term in Bambi and that I was wrong.
Another writer friend wrote “making in front of” instead of “making fun of.” I couldn’t help but make in front of him on that one—come on now. Was this a joke? A pigment of my imagination, or did this well educated man not know this simple phrase?
So, I popped in my ear buds and started listening to “Secret Asian Man” and thought of some more malapropisms (verbal slips and gaffes) and some of the more common ones writers face every day as we plug away on our stories. I mean we want to be taken seriously, right? We have to send in our work with as little errors as we can. How are we ever going to rise above the plush pile if we don't?
Accept/except
Affect/effect
Lay/Lie
Too/to/two
Further/Farther
Its/It’s
Desert/dessert
And many more…
Not sure the difference, check out this helpful grammar site here.

What are your favorite malapropisms? Share your favorites.
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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Never even heard herd of the word malapropisms. Hope I can pronounce it right wright write! - Malinda Twede

Angela Scott said...

The new site looks good. Let me know how it works for you :)

Krisseev said...

He He reminds me of the day I wrote to the entire RWA craft loop about using cleches vs. figure of speech in dialog.
What if someone says " you're really trying my patients." is that wrong?
The answer? Yes. Unless you're character is in the medical field and he/She is trying to make a joke.
Well aren't we the professional writer :-}

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

Are you sure it's malapropisms? I always thought it was malapert . . . painted. LMAO!
I LOVE this post ;)

Henya said...

Diana, what a delightful post. It is interesting how your story evolved from the olfactory to malapropism.

How about: Will have only channel vision.
He was a man of great statue.
Cardial - as in cardial arrest.