Archive for Phrases

One phrase to rule them all

A recent KQED headline reads “Making Sense of Purple Air vs. AirNow, and a New Map to Rule Them All,” which makes me wonder whether the headline-writers at KQED know where that phrase comes from. I feel like comparing something to Sauron’s One Ring might be seen as an indication that the thing is bad, […]

Head of household?

I recently got voicemail spam in which caller asked to “speak to the head of household, if they’re available.” I was surprised to hear the phrase “head of household”—I think I haven’t encountered that phrase in years, outside of a tax context. (The IRS uses the phrase to refer to an unmarried person who maintains […]


I like the phrase “I know, right?”, but I somehow almost never encounter a situation in which it seems like it would make sense for me to use it. But I think that may partly be due to my not noticing such opportunities when they occur. For example, I just came across a Facebook exchange […]

Eshoo question

A metaphor I was amused by: “The $64,000 question is: How do we put socks on this octopus?” —Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, in a telephone town hall this evening. (A quick web search suggests that the socks/octopus thing is a relatively common phrase, but I hadn’t heard it before.)

somehow or rather

I recently came across the phrase somehow or rather. I initially assumed that it was a typo for somehow or other, but I got curious and did a web search and found that lots of people have used the phrase online. I assume that it’s an eggcorn, but if so, it seems to be a […]

Another garden path

Another garden path sentence, this one from a TechCrunch headline: Did unicorns like Lyft and Uber wait too long? I misread the first several words of that as asking about how unicorns feel about ridesharing companies.