Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Category Archives: reading aloud

Cadences and Rhythm

Short post today, but this deserves more attention and will probably get more later. One of the items in the David Foster Wallace English essay that I thought was really interesting was his admission that he uses incorrect language sometimes because it sounds better. His example was “Where’s it at?” for “Where is it?” You can hear the difference between the two if you say them. I think this is also a reason for the prevalence of “ain’t.” We want a one-syllable negative, and “isn’t” is just too bulky sometimes. Imagine Hank Hill saying, “That boy isn’t right.” (I think, by the way, that this relates to why it’s a good idea to read your work aloud while editing–a good topic for another post.)

What favorite incorrect expressions do you have that sound better than their correct counterparts?

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