Jurisprudence Fetishist Gets Off On Technicality

That lovely headline was pulled from The Onion’s archive. I wanted to use it after working on a couple of issues with co-workers and customers, and finding several misuses of the English language. Not that the Onion’s headline was misused … rather, they used it quite cleverly. Unlike my co-worker and customers.
The co-worker’s gaff was when trying to “flush out” an idea. I corrected him on it, suggesting he wanted to “flesh out” the idea instead. He maintained that what he wanted was to “flush out” the idea … putting more into it, and making it take form. Pretty sure he meant “flesh out”.
Not that I’m any better. In my last paragraph, I put a period outside the quotes instead of inside. I do these things out of habit. Sure I make mistakes, but I try not to say “pacific,” when I mean “specific”; or grisly when I’m talking about bears; or enormity when I’m thinking about something really large. For every mistake I think is obvious, there are about a dozen more subtle mistakes I’m making on a regular basis.
I’m really bad about all things World Wide Web. I can’t understand capitalizing the Interweb and Webpages.
The most recent mistake was when reading James Crumley’s “The Wrong Case,” in which the narrator describes a bartender “niggardly” pouring drinks from a spout. Well, the first thing I thought was “this book was written in the 70s, and the narrator might be a little intolerant.” Then I decided I should look it up instead of just thinking bad things about the racist narrator. Sure enough, I learned a few things. Like, while I may still get punched out for including the word in my blog, I can honestly say in court that I didn’t use the “N-word.”
This site is pretty cool for gettin all book-learning: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html. It really got me thinking about the way we use/misuse words, and how language changes over time to become more accepting of deviant usage.
It now makes total sense when you hear the phrase, “You can’t eat your cake and have it too.” Wow. How long have I been misusing that line?