Monday, July 29, 2013

Grammar Police Monday - Know Your Idioms

Idiom (n.): An expression whose meaning cannot be deduced from the meanings of its individual words (ex: jump the gun).

I'm going to start including idioms in my GPM posts about commonly confused words. There's nothing wrong with writing these from time to time, but, if you're going to use one, be sure to get it right. :)

Flesh out vs Flush out
To flesh out means to add substance or detail to an object or idea; to develop.

To flush out means to drive or force something out into the open, such as game birds or criminals.


Palm off vs Pawn off
To palm off means to dispose of by deception or defraud by swapping something for another item of inferior value (can be literal or figurative); to trick as with sleight of hand.

Pawn off is a corrupted version of palm off.

Jerry-built vs Jury-rigged
These two are similar, but not quite the same. If something is jerry-built, it is poorly made. If something is jury-rigged, it is fixed temporarily in makeshift manner, typically with materials one has on hand. The former has a negative connotation, whereas the latter implies cleverness.


###

That's all for today.
Thanks for stopping by. :)


To tweet about this post, click here.

To tweet about the Grammar Police Files, a linked list 
of all the posts, click here.



28 comments:

  1. I didn't even know all of these. Thanks for the lesson :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post. Idioms used correctly can sum something up in seconds. Used incorrectly the m in idiom becomes a t and no one wants to be one of those.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another set of good examples to watch out for. I didn't even know the Palm off vs Pawn off ones at all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just started following you on Bloglovin. I'm not a native speaker, so your tips come in very handy.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I get the sneaky suspicion I may have mixed up flesh out and flush out in the past lol!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Totally thought it was Jerry-rigged. XD

    ReplyDelete
  7. Why do they make it so hard to keep these saying straight by making them all so similar in sound. Thanks, Melissa.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for the Jerry-built/Jury-rigged clarification. That was one I didn't know the nuances on.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Pawn off is corrupt? Shame on it!
    And at first glance I thought it said know your idiots...

    ReplyDelete
  10. How funny, I've never heard of "jerry-built". That makes me wonder if it's an anti German thing from WWII or something (Jerry being slang for German at the time).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. I didn't know that.
      And, maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought the Germans were known for good craftsmanship. Hmm...

      Delete
  11. The last one 'jury-rigged' was new to me. Educational as always. Thanks Melissa!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice! These are easy to mess up.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Adding idioms is a good idea. They're basically the same things as words, except even more colloquial.

    I've never heard of Jerry-built. I wonder if I can find out about the etymology of it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Another great day for definitions. When I first joined the blogging world, I asked my friend a lot of stupid questions, but luckily she was nice enough to answer without laughing too hard :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jerry-built is one I hadn't heard.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I hadn't heard of Jerry-built either. I love learning new phrases.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Cool addition for the Grammar Police!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have to say that for many, many years I thought jury-rigged was jerry-rigged. Then I finally saw it in print. But I didn't know the difference. Awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm not familiar with either jury-rigged or jerry-rigged. We either don't say them hear in the land of Oz or I've just never heard them.

    On another topic, how busy are you in September? I was wondering whether you'd like to play a valuable role in the next Campaign? Totally fine if you've got too much on though. Just let me know. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow! I learned something new today. Thank you for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've missed my GPM's! Clarifying idioms is an excellent idea. I think Jerry-rigged comes from the World War eras, meaning something that the Germans had a hand in fixing, thus the negative connotations.

    Thanks for this post, and for all your support lately.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oo, this was a good one. Bonus points for the toilet imagery. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  23. Gah, I just noticed I wrote "hear" instead of "here". Doh!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Palm off was new to me as well! Is the toilet your way of saying grammar has really gone down the crapper? :P

    ReplyDelete
  25. Btw, I FINALLY got an eMail notice of your post! So excited! Hope they all start working again. Since I lost Google Reader I've been missing a lot of posts. (I know, there are alternatives, but that takes time for me to learn something new--and time has been my enemy lately. :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love your grammar police posts. Never heard of jerry-built, but I like it. :)

    ReplyDelete

I love to hear what you have to say.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. = )