Saturday, August 23, 2008

Make Your Choices Hobson's, Not Hobbesian

There are Hobson's choices but, apparently, not Hobbesian choices. Please make a note of it lest you face the brutal snickers and cutting japes of usage nerds.

Ahem, present company included. And yet I don't think I knew that; I'm pretty sure I would have sided with Hobbesian choice over Hobson's choice had I not been corrected in the matter by Bpaul. I am pleased to be corrected.

For all this, I am quite sure I have seen Hobbesian choice in print many times -- as an idiom intended to mean the same thing as the idiom Hobson's choice, not as a colorful way of bringing anecdotes about Thomas Hobbes into a discussion; it certainly turns up in the googles plenty of times, and rarely for the sake of being cited as a solecism. So what's the word for a mistake that has been used so often that it becomes normalized? Bushism?

Irregardless in the place of regardless will never be normalized on my watch. Never. Not if I live to be 992.

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