Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Always pick on the correct idiom

This is the 16th of William Safire’s 18 rules for writers. I want to think of some funny, maybe even hilarious, ways to illustrate this one. The best person for this was Yogi Berra. Here are some of his gems.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
The future ain’t what it used to be.
You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.
It gets late early out here.

Another couple of masters of this are Batiuk and Ayers, the creators of the comic strip Crankshaft.

Speaking of Italian cucumbers, Crankshaft says: I really like to ciao down on those.
About a bad football team: …they’re just a bunch of overpaid quarterbucks.
Something else is:…easy as rolling off a pie.

I guess a misstated idiom is actually a malapropism, right?

My character Mr. Toombs, a character in my own Eine Kleine Murder, spoke of the “phrases of the moon.” I got that from a guy I worked for when I was a teenager. Cracked me up.  

Do you have favorite idioms? Or messed up idioms?

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1 comment:

  1. Years ago while in a clothing store, I heard a woman say, "I'm going to get me some of those groucho pants." I guess that's a malapropism. Groucho pants have been out of style so long, people might not get it. My uncle's wife once mentioned a "scrapegoat." I must get that into a story.