On the importance of correctly spelling the word "cologne"

Witness more of this at Sad And Useless. (via @apelad)



    1. http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/browse-eggcorns/

      I started reading the list in that article just for kicks, and ended up pretty upset. 
      My grasp of English was only intermediate by the time I got online, and the internet was a natural resource… I can still remember being extremely confused by a lot of these ‘eggcorns’. So many people online were writing ‘should of’ and ‘bare with me’ that I would end up thinking these were bona fide…I’m sorry, ‘bonified’ alternate expressions.

      The worst part is, I’ve noticed myself substituting homophones in cases where I’d never done it before. Right for write. Their for there. I know the difference, but seeing it written with a mistake in so many places messes with your head.

      1. I’m doing the same now with French, sort of. I wind up spelling things by sound… in French. “I chould have”

        1. Rofl! I can relate. Ever seen French spelled with the Polish alphabet? I still have notebooks full of that. I was five and it had never occurred to me that  different languages had different spellings. ‘Bonżur, komą sa wa?’

          1. Thanks!  I can read the French with the Polish spelling more easily than with the French spelling.  I taught one of my Russian instructors how to say the word “oil” by writing it in Cyrillic, though the Southerners in class drove her nuts with “erl”.

      2. They’re so common that what is jarring to me is when I see people using things correctly.  

        Though this is more common when it comes to proper use of apostrophes, which is exceedingly rare on the internet.

        1. I’m not exactly a language reformer what with still using the subjective and whatnot, but I would be fine with getting rid of apostrophes. Cases where spelling-sans-apostrophe or context don’t make meaning perfectly obvious would be extremely rare.

        1. I’d say that eggcorns are a strict subset of eggcorns. I’d also say that they’re not spoonerisms (A well-boiled icicle) – those tend to be either clever or silly, but aren’t precisely the same.

          Still, words are pretty awesome.

  1. Speaking of the dull-witted, apparently Twitter is full of people who didn’t realize that the Titanic was a real ship until the anniversary the other day.

          1. Thank you sir… I’ve never seen that one and will now live a richer life thanks to your hard work.

      1. A cologneoscapy is when you reach fifty and clean out your medicine cabinet and remove old toiletries.

  2. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is often a nice gesture, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and a colon is just a colon.

      1. Though Colon Carnival does have a certain charme, considering that alcohol and close contact are involved.

    1. He he he.

      Reminds me of how “Raising Hope” has the most wonderful malapropisms and portmanteaus thrown in ever so casually. “Vaginacologyst” made me spit out my dinner a few weeks ago. 

  3. When offered a correction, it’s interesting how many poor spellers automatically go on the defensive.

    It must be a pretty fucked-up world to live in, where people taking pity and offering help somehow appear as hectoring bullies or something…

    Attitude fail, bigtime. Marked in every written utterance.

      1.  Who said anything about rubbing anyone’s nose in it?

        Got another way of describing the motivation to offer assistance to the handicapped?

      1. first, yes, you got the joke. Please add to it rather than spell it out. Second, you misspelled oppose.

    1.  AXE is one of the few colognes out there that I would agree should probably be spelled as “colon” instead.  That stuff stinks – especially when it’s overused (which, in my experience, seems to be “any time it is used”).

  4. man I want a flavored colon. It’ll be like hair color! Today my hair’s blue and my colon tastes like blueberries to match! Tomorrow it’s red with strawberry colon!

  5. Problem is solved by calling it after-shave, as god intended.

    But yea, outside of your follow list Twitter is full of morons, the kind that frequent YouTube comments and style their hair with peanut butter.

  6. That second one in the pic above might be right; who knows what jaredgoddard gets up to on the weekends?

  7. Hey, are you some kinda pinko or what? What’s wrong with the old fashioned ‘Murrican spelling?

  8. Has anyone around here considered the possibility that this was a joke among friends, perhaps poking fun at some misspelling at school or around the office? I realize the instinct of BoingBoingers to feel superior is pretty strong– note the jab at Christians above– but could we be the old farts who just don’t get the joke? Many of the comments sound like scoldy schoolmarms. 

    1. I doubt it. From reading all the examples, none of them seem anything other than a genuine attempt to refer to ‘cologne’. Other slips in spelling/punctuation don’t help either. I will, however, accept the fact that I’m a scoldy schoolmarm.
      edit: also, while I have made the ‘flavor’ instead of ‘scent’ mistake while speaking, I think one would catch it after tweeting it… unless you’re going to apply it to your colon, in which case maybe it IS a flavor.

    2. Yeah…no.

      I have seen plenty of people in car forums use the word breaks to refer to the parts of your car that stop you, ie your brakes. 

      I’m horrible at spelling…that’s one of my alternative uses of google.

    3. Notice the lack of likes and replies to that jab. I did a double take, wanted to ask ‘wtf’, then decided it was a troll best left alone.

  9. You really should give credit to @dogboner for finding these in the first place. He finds a lot of the eggcorn Twitter mistakes that get passed around by others.

  10. I’m waiting for the spelling shift on stuff like this.  Spelling rules were codified in English with the birth of the printing press – prior to the printing press spelling was much more fluid and phonetic.  The pronunciation of the language has changed a lot since then – there were some massive linguistic upheavals just within decades after the press was introduced to England.

    As long as publishers acted as gatekeepers to content, spelling was going to stay fairly standardized – and prescriptive rules on spelling have prevented publishers from shifting those spellings much (though there has been some sanity introduced over the centuries).  We’ve now entered a phase where  text communication is pretty much democratized and outside the hands of elite gatekeepers (just as spoken language has always been – which is why there’s so much more variation in spoken language than in print) so I wouldn’t be surprised to see spelling shifts happen in the next century or so.

    Though cologne -> colon isn’t one I suspect will stick (“colone” would be a much better choice for that one anyway, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that less funny misspelling wasn’t already being used on twitter without comment).  Losing “igh” and “ough”, though, are shifts we’re already seeing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually stick.

      1. Our how Americans misspell “favourite” and “centre” – and pronounce “Lieutenant” like it’s spelled, not as it’s spoken in English English, and “foyer” as it’s spelled, not as it’s pronounced in French….

        1. I say “foyay” for the same reason I don’t say “leftenant.” At least I’m consistent ;)

  11. Obviously, these people weren’t born in Canada (mandatory French lessons until Grade Ten); and then there are the English-speaking kids who take all their classes in French – even through University.  Too bad I’ve forgotten most of my French (I went to Grade 13).  I think if I coudn’t spell cologne, I’d write perfume instead!

    1. In all fairness, Canadians are notoriously ignorant of Spanish, it does not appear on any of our packaging.  We can’t even say “hello” in Spanish.  When I was a kid, I thought that they spoke “Mexican” in Mexico. ;)

      1. Too true. The ONLY Spanish many Canadians hear is José Féliciano’s “¡Feliz Navidad!” on the radio at Christmas time, or The Simpsons.

  12. Hate to spoil everyone’s fun (what am I talking about? I love doing it!) but my guess is that we are laughing at many people who are merely tweeting in their non-native language. When you all start tweeting in error-free Spanish you may resume making fun of people who are trying. “Colônia” is Portugese for cologne and “colonia” is the Spanish and “acqua di colonia” would be the Italian, so it’s pretty clear that a majority of these are simple mistranslations.


    (Yes, I’ll admit some of these are probably people who should know better, but many of them have Spanish/South-American names & handles… check the link in the article at least half of them are Latino)

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