Friday, November 7, 2014

Nov 7th: Family Circus & Malapropism

Hello everyone!

Today’s comic is Family Circus featuring Dolly and Jeffy.


“Remember, Jeffy.  If the dodge ball hits you, you’ll be illuminated.”

– Dolly explaining the game of Dodge Ball to Jeffy.

What is wrong with this sentence?

Dotty said, “you’ll be illuminated”.  She used the wrong word; she meant “eliminate”.  The two words “illuminate” and “eliminate” sound similar which is why she confused them but they are not homonyms

Homonyms are words that sound the same or are spelled the same but have a different meaning.

The words illuminate and eliminate are not spelled the same, they do not sound the same, and they do not have the same meaning.

Illuminate vs Eliminate

Pronouncing Illuminate and Eliminate

Illuminate = Ill – lu – min – ate

Eliminate = E – li – min – ate

What do they mean?

The word “illuminate” means to shine light on something physically or metaphorically as a way to explain something. 

Physical: Please illuminate this room by turning on the lights.

Metaphorically: Please illuminate me by explaining what is happening. 

The word “eliminate” means to take something out or to get rid of.

Mixing up “illuminate” with “eliminate” is an example of malapropism.

What is Malapropism?

Malapropism is when one word is used in the place of a similar sounding word by accident because the user has confused the two words. 

A malapropism can cause confusion and humour when used depending on the context. 

Example – Literally vs Literary

Malapropism – I was literary ready to quit my job. 

Correct Word – I was literally ready to quit my job. 

Children use a lot of malapropism because they are still learning how to speak.  Even many adults, native and fluent English speakers included, will use malapropisms without realizing it. 

What is Dodge Ball?

Dodge Ball is a game that can be played in groups or teams.  The simple goal of the game is to take out the other team or the targeted people in the game by throwing a bouncy ball at them.  The other team or the targeted players literally have to dodge (miss) the ball to stay in the game. 

You win by either eliminating the other team completely or by taking out the targeted players of the game.

What did Dolly mean?

Dolly said, “Remember, Jeffy.  If the dodge ball hits you, you’ll be illuminated.”

What Dolly meant to say was, “Remember, Jeffy.  If the dodge ball hits you, you’ll be eliminated.”

Dolly’s explanation of the game Dodge Ball was an example of malapropism.

Today’s images are from herehere, here, and here.

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