Let me just begin by saying Yes, I realize language changes over time. And idioms come and go. One reason idioms fall out of favor is that no one knows what they mean anymore. For instance: before vinyl came back, “You sound like a broken record” was a dead metaphor for “You’re saying the same thing over and over.”
Young people probably thought we were talking about breaking a record like the four-minute mile. With no frame of reference, why wouldn’t they be confused?
So, yeah. I can let old-people expressions go, but in the meantime? Hearing them misquoted drives me crazy. Here are a few idioms currently transitioning into non-sequiturs…
1. “Set foot” — Now, often expressed as “step foot”
Problem? The word “step” means to set one’s foot. So if you say, “I haven’t stepped foot in that store,” you are actually saying you haven’t set foot foot there.
“Step foot” is redundant.
2. “To be a part” of something — Now, often expressed as “To be apart”
Problem? “A part” means included in something, such as a group.
“Apart” means separated.
Which is almost exactly the opposite of what you are trying to say.
3. “If he thinks ___, he’s got another think coming.”
Now often expressed as “…he’s got another thing coming.”
Problem? I know, I know… “think” is not normally used as a noun. That’s why “another think” is called an expression. Let me illustrate:
“If he thinks I’m cooking dinner, he’s got another think coming.”
This literally means, “If he thinks I’m cooking dinner, he will have to think again.”
“If he thinks I’m cooking dinner, he’s got another thing coming.”
This literally means, “If he thinks I’m cooking dinner, he will receive another UPS package.”
Which makes NO sense, even less sense than the old-people idiom of using “think” as a noun.
As near as I can figure…
Old people rock!
Thanks for reading,