Arrant Pedantry

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Eggcorns

The other day, while researching baseball facts for a project at work, I discovered two eggcorns—my very first—that are apparently undocumented. They’re not to be found in the Eggcorn Database. One of them was a very common type of error (“in” for “and”): “the life in times” instead of “the life and times.” The eggcorn form returns 6.5 percent as many hits as the correct form: 91,000 to 1,410,000. [Edited because I’ve apparently forgotten how to do math.]

The second was more surprising and much more rare: “pictures mound” for “pitcher’s mound.” The pronunciation of “picture” as “pitcher” is fairly common, but I would’ve expected the error to run in the other direction. Google only showed 53 hits for “the pictures mound.” A few were irrelevant, and most were obviously duplicates that had been cribbed from a baseball facts site.

I’ll let you know if and when they’re accepted into the database. Oh, and if you have no idea what an eggcorn is, check out the About Page at the Eggcorn Database and the Language Log post that started it all.

7 Responses to Eggcorns

  1. Brinestone says:

    This reminds me of the time when someone was selling a table and cheers on Craigslist, but that was probably not widespread enough (or at all) to merit inclusion in the Eggcorn Database. Congratulations on your contribution to English language research.

  2. DeputyHeadmistress says:

    Found this post while googling for a particular eggcorn.
    I have a relative who used to say, “Little pictures have big ears.” He insisted this was correct, because the little kids were the pictures of the parents.

  3. Jonathon says:

    I’m not sure I understand what the correct phrase should be. It doesn’t sound at all familiar to me.

  4. Stan Carey says:

    “The life in times” does seem to be a very common mistake, though I don’t remember noticing it before I read your post on it.

    Incidentally, one of the numbers you quote at the end of the first paragraph seems to be out by a factor of 10.

  5. Jonathon says:

    Stan: The number of results Google is returning has changed since I wrote this post. I’m not sure why.

  6. Stan says:

    Thanks for responding, Jonathon. I had almost given up hope!

    The number of Google results changes constantly for any given search. I should have clarified what I meant: 91,000 isn’t 70% of 1,410,000, or even close; it’s 6.45%. So when I wrote “one of the numbers […] seems to be out by a factor of 10″, it was probably the percentage (assuming that the Google hits you cite were accurate at the time of posting).

  7. Jonathon says:

    *slaps forehead*

    Duh. I don’t know why I missed that before. And now I’m not sure which part is actually wrong—the numbers or the percentage. I’d guess the percentage, because the ghits now are about 4.7 million to 56 thousand.

    Oh well. Thanks for pointing that out.

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