Monday, June 01, 2009

Per Say

While searching for something else, I came across this great eggcorn that I had never seen before: per say. 419,000 hits on Google, so it's a pretty common one. See the Eggcorn Database entry.

(If you haven't come across the expression "eggcorn" before, see the Wiki page.)


Donald Brown said...

Ok, I'm a little unclear on this 'eggcorn' phenomenon; is 'per say' an eggcorn or is it just bad spelling? Lots of people, if asked to write down everything they say would spell a fair percentage of it incorrectly, even if they do know the correct words, in terms of meaning and usage. "eggcorn" is someone who apparently doesn't know the word "acorn," but "per say" could be someone, often, who thinks "per se" should be spelled "per say," the way it sounds.

Andrew Shields said...

I think the point about the eggcorn is that it's not just a misspelling but a replacement of one word by another, when one has only heard something said.

The reverse is that if you have only read something you might mispronounce it. My word with that was "island."