Watch your neck, Mrs. Malaprop

This grammatical lapse in Maureen Dowd’s column in The New York Times brings Mrs. Malaprop to mind (“… she might reprehend the true meaning of what she is saying”).

What she meant, of course, was “neck and neck,” like horses at a track or ostriches on the way to wherever ostriches go in a hurry. …

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An intents lesson

I suppose it’s possible that the “purposes” we describe here were “intensive” (a strength or intensity imposed from outside, according to American Heritage).

That’s not likely, though.

What we were after was “for all intents and purposes,” meaning “for all practical purposes.”

Oops. …

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