Malaprop 4: Wrath of the Malapro

“Don and Katy watched hypnotically Gino place more coffees out at another table with supreme balance.”

The usual mandate of my Malaprop posts is to share bits of bad writing I gather from sources all over the place (usually the net), ranging from the rabid comments sections of the blogosphere to the esteemed pages of the New York Times. I tend also to focus mainly on instances where people misuse words or phrases, like writing “they were chomping at the bent” instead of “they were champing at the bit.” Awful spelling, grammar, and generally fucked-up writing are all too easy to find on the web, so I don’t bother calling attention to them.

I also don’t source the screw-ups, as I’m not really trying to target anybody specifically for their errors.

Today, however, we have a very special episode of Malaprop. I will be showing you the latest batch of culls, of course (including a clever use of the word “armature” I got a kick out of), but also I’d like to introduce you to our first malapro, writer Jacqueline Howett.

Ms. Howett is a human being, and obviously a very emotional one, so I’m going to try to be as kind as I can…though simply sharing any of her writing (like the tidbit atop this post) and discussing her behavior is, in itself, gonna be innately rough on her. But I think discussing her is valuable because she’s a stark object lesson for any writers out there (or, really, artists of any ilk) in how not to act. Continue reading

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Malaprop 3: The Ironing

(Read Malaprop 1Read Malaprop 2…)

The time feels right for another installment of my Malaprop series, in which I share some delightful literature I’ve snipped from hither and thither on the net…

Can you spot all the errors? Continue reading

Malaprop 2: The Reckoning

NO! NO! PLEASE...PLEASE WRITE CORRECTLY!!!

Go to  Malaprop 1.

Last week, I shared some of my collection of malaprops, little bits of communications gone awry. I’ve been gathering this material for a while and am sharing it in doses so as not to fry too many of your brain cells all at once.

Time for some more.

One note: I had someone call me out on the tone of the first post, and upon reflection I overplayed the whole “idiot” thing. Some of these errors are from idiots, I’m sure, but many of them are not. They’re just mistakes in language perfectly intelligent folks have picked up without realizing. My rhetoric was meant in fun more than it was meant to antagonize or belittle.

Except when it comes to the real idiots. Screw them.

Now on with the show… Continue reading

Malaprop

I enjoy idiots, up to a point. Watching something like Fox & Friends can be as humorous as watching an old Three Stooges short, if less intellectually stimulating. But only up to a point.

(Hilariously, as I started writing this, Green Day’s song “American Idiot” started up on the random playlist I’m listening to).

But I wish the idiots weren’t so prevalent, particularly at the voting booth, but also on the Internet. As a writer, a reader, a person who values clear thought and knowledge, and an educated guy, I’m often appalled at what I see passing for communication among my fellow citizens.

A while back, I started collecting bits of idiocy I came across online. Now, I’m not talking about net-speak or texting shortcuts, or even persistent spelling stupidities like using “villian” instead of “villain.” I’m talking about people using words and phrases that don’t work the way they think they do.

I haven’t bothered sourcing these. My intent isn’t to embarrass anyone specifically. But my sources range from comments left on blog posts here and there all the way up to the Gray Lady herself, The New York Times.

I haven’t bothered with anything from the brain of George W. Bush, as the only torture he practiced that was more egregious than that he practiced on human beings was that he practiced on language. He’s in a class all by himself.

I’m going to break my collection up into serialized posts. I’m posting this stuff for two reasons: one, to laugh at the gaffes of those who can’t be bothered to make sure they’re saying what they think they’re saying, and two, to encourage anyone reading to please bother to make sure. Especially if you’re presenting your work as even semi-professional, much less professional, writing.

Now, onward to the flubs and gaffes. Can you identify them all? Continue reading