The misuse of certain phrases in English is something that really gets my goat. Some examples:
- baited breath instead of bated breath
- here here instead of hear hear
- step foot instead of set foot
- it’s not rocket surgery instead of it’s not rocket science/brain surgery
- right of passage instead of rite of passage
- for all intensive purposes instead of for all intents and purposes
- no holes bared or no holes barred instead of no holds barred
- Old-timer’s disease instead of Alzheimer’s disease
- nip it in the butt instead of nip it in the bud
Personally I think it is because people don’t read anymore so they don’t see the spelling, and also (despite Google being at everyone’s fingertips), people don’t know the origin of the term so misuse it.
These things are known as eggcorns.
Find a list here.
The strange thing is, I know that language is organic and that the language we speak today is a corrupted form of much older and more formal language. I know that people from previous era and generations must have hated English evolving into the form we speak today, even the correct form. That still does not prevent me being annoyed that people are misusing idioms because they do not read sufficiently and have not been taught the reasoning behind them.
I have thought about it but I am not sure. Would you say that eggcorns are another form of Mondegreen?
Here are two beautiful eggcorns from The Daily Mail