Interestin’ readin’

When I was at MIIS, a friend of mine taking a linguistics class asked how often I replace “going to” with “gonna,” and I said always. But then he brought up the difference between “I’m going to drive to the store” and “I’m going to the store” and taught me something that of course I knew instinctively: “gonna” can only replace “going to” + verb. When “going to” is followed by a noun, you can’t say “gonna” – you can only abbreviate it to “goin’ to” (which I do). Stuff like this fascinates me.

I’m sharing this now because I just read a pretty good article comparing Obama’s and McCain’s use of “g dropping”: Language Log: Emphathic -in’

Eggcorns

English lovers and nitpickers take note – I just discovered a great site, called The Eggcorn Database. An eggcorn is a particular type of English mistake wherein the wrong word is used in a common expression. It is usually due to ignorance of the underlying meaning and etymology, and is often the substitution of one homophone for another, such as “towing the line” (rather than “toeing the line”) or else a similar-sounding word, such as “fermenting trouble” when you really mean “fomenting trouble.” I’ve always been fascinated by these kinds of mistakes, which are, I believe, cousins of the common English mistakes I so love to explain on my own site.

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