Are you a cannibal or a nudist?


I was reading an online article today and was immediately smacked between the eyes by a glaring typo (surprise, surprise). To make matters worse, the article was about Alfred Hitchcock, the phrase was part of a statement by Hitchcock, and the author got it correct when directly quoting Hitchcock but incorrect when using it him or herself. Let’s discuss two oft-mangled phrases, which, when mangled, really grind my gears.

“Tongue and cheek” – are you Dr. Hannibal Lecter? If so, please carry on, and SO SORRY for the rudeness. If you are not a cannibal, I believe you want the phrase “tongue IN cheek.” The meaning is akin to “take it with a grain of salt.”

Or perhaps Dr. Lecter does want tongue IN cheek, with a grain of salt. Sea salt, of course. On to the next mangled phrase:

“Bare with me” – are you a nudist? If so, you are correct. If you are not a nudist and you want someone to hang in there with you while you explain something, you want them to BEAR with you.

bear with, to be patient or forbearing with: Please bear with me until I finish the story.*

I can imagine Dr. Lecter saying, “Please bear with me; I meant it tongue in cheek,” as he slices the ginger. I can’t work nudism into that scene. I’m sorry. The next time you start to use one of those phrases, think “Cannibal? Nudist?” and then carry on.

* (#32)


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