I always thought I had a good tackle on the English language, but it wasn’t until I got married that my husband ever so kindly made me aware that I use many colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions incorrectly. Whether it is using them in the wrong context, mixing two different ones together, or just making new ones up all together, I never seem to stop surprising my husband and others with my…creativity. I think I find The Office so funny because I relate very well to Michael Scott and his misuse of words and expressions.
*I do feel like I need a disclaimer somewhere in here. It’s not that I don’t know any idiomatic expressions, because I feel like I understand the very common ones like “hold your horses” or “a piece of cake” or “blind as a bat”. However, I, struggle with the trickier ones (at least in my mind) like “till the cows come home” or “have an axe to grind” and a litany of others.
It’s hard to duplicate and enumerate all the “idiotic” expressions that I’ve used because frankly there have been so many and because I think people have stopped correcting me. But here are a few I can remember: (And please don't be too horrified how I could have "slipped through the cracks" (did I use that right?) of the public school system and make it through college not knowing these things.) I guess I'll give it the "old high school try".
- I said that someone was the spinning image when it is the spitting image
- Rob from Peter to pay Paul—I used two different names
- Barking up the wrong tree to mean that some one was gay
- I said by the sweat of your brow when I think what I meant to say was by the skin of your teeth (I’m not sure what I meant that time…)
- To wet your palette, when it really is whet your appetite
- I often say the point is mute, when the correct word is moot
- Begging the question—Yeah, I still don’t get that one
Just this week I used one of my idiomatic expressions when talking to Brian and our conversation continued as follows:
Brian: “What did you just say?”
Me: (Trying to defend what I just said) “You must not know that expression.”
Brian: “You’re right; you use a lot of expressions I don’t know...”
Thanks honey. Well all of this to say is that sometimes I sound dumb and blond—I just hope not too often. I just wanted to give some insight into a problem of mine and that I am always trying to improve my written and spoken English. And hopefully no one thinks too much less of me after my confessions. Check out these two websites to see more of what I’m talking about, and maybe I’m not the only person that messes these up :)