July 17, 2004

Lexical brickbats

Lynne Truss thinks that people who mix up homophones (like stationary for stationery) ought to have bricks thrown through their windows. Bricks with dictionaries attached.

I'm not sure whether that's better or worse than a plain brick, from the point of view of the recipient.

"John, they broke another window today. In the side room this time."
"Another Concise Oxford, I suppose?"
"No, this one was a Collins Cobuild."
"Same difference, we already have two of those. I was hoping for DARE P-Sk."
"Or Slayer Slang. That would be cool."
"No such luck. Well, put it up on ebay, and call the maintenance guy."

At least dictionaries are a step up from meat cleavers, Lynne's weapon of choice against those who misplace apostrophes.

After sweeping up the broken glass, those who want to return the favor might consider chucking her one of these.

Posted by Mark Liberman at July 17, 2004 08:33 AM