Wordly Wisdom

A site about words
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Some turns of phrase are just not logical, Captain...

a “dateline” shows where you are, not the date

Britain is now the second most obese country
in the world. Guardian May 23, 2008 (Britons may be the second most obese nation, but a country can’t be obese)

cheap at half the price (shurely ‘twice the price’?)

Clegg asks you to nominate for repeal "laws that are not required and which are likely to see law-abiding citizens criminalised".

closed circle
(all circles are closed)

dates to the 12th century (dates from)

Delicious is not the word! (And disgusting is?)

depthless for bottomless (American, because they’re too prudish to say “bottom”. If it’s got no depth it must be shallow.)

double-edged sword (All swords are doubled edged. A single edged sword is a sabre.)

empty bottle of mineral water

forewarned is forearmed (You can’t post-warn somebody.)

free gift (All gifts are free.)

fully 70ft to mean 70ft (Gosh, that’s a lot in case you hadn’t worked it out for yourself.)

goes some way to redressing the balance, fulfilling their obligations etc (Shurely goes some way towards?)

head over heels in love (Your head is normally over your heels. Shouldn’t that be “heels over head”?)

herbal teas (Isn’t Camellia sinensis a herb?)

I could care less/they care less (It’s “I couldn’t care less”.)

jump in with both feet (You can’t jump in and leave one foot behind.)

like a coiled spring (What other kinds are there?)

meteoric rise to fame etc (Meteors nearly always fall to earth. In space they orbit.)

not to mention (But you’ve just mentioned it.)

one of the only

organic food (Unlike all that inorganic food you eat the rest of the time such as... salt.)

see if you can hear

Simon Rattle, still only 39 (as if he’s been 39 for several years)

surrogate mother when it’s her own egg (and own child).

that goes without saying (but someone’s just said it)

the curtain falls/rises, curtain up (Theatrical curtains usually move sideways.)