An Eggcorn Fell from the Tree

by Devanshu Mehta

In the past, I’ve written about snowclones– those great sentences which have a popular skeleton and just require you to fill in the blanks to seem witty and smart. And sometimes like an anchor for Entertainment Tonight.

Sentences like “Have goatee, will travel” and “In space, no one can hear you burp” or “All your pageviews are belong to us”. Replace ‘goatee’, ‘burp’ and ‘pageviews’ as you please, and you have yourself infinite snowclones.

Well, today I will introduce you to my friend, the eggcorn. Eggcorns are words that sound and feel just like the word it’s used in place of. But they’re wrong. Like saying eggcorn instead of acorn- it sounds sort of right, an egg-shaped corn, but it’s the wrong word.

People unintentionally use eggcorns all the time– “old-timers disease” instead of Alzheimer’s disease, “on the spurt of the moment” instead of “spur” or a “mute point” instead of “moot”. (No, Joey’s “moo point” doesn’t count. It’s a cows opinion.)

Check out the excellent Eggcorn database for more. And remember, just like snowclones, the term eggcorn was introduced on the brilliant Language Log blog.

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