All languages include idioms which seem idiotic (is that why they are called idioms?), but sometimes I think that English takes the biscuit (there’s one: what biscuit? Where does it take it to? And why should we even care, there are usually more than one bicuit in a pack). One saying that particularly gets up my nose (Grr…) is “Oooh, that’d be cheap at half the price!” This is used when one encounters something that is cheap. And as it is cheap, of course it would be cheap at half the price. If one said “It’d be cheap at twice the price, that’d make sense. But very little makes sense in English…
Yes yes, I know that all languages contain idioms and sayings that are bloody stupid. But my field of expertise is English – I have an honours degree in the subject, I’m a native speaker, and I’ve taught English to speakers of other languages so I’ve seen plenty of jaws drop when I’ve explained a few of these gems to my students.
In fact, I’m going to make this post a competition. Use Comments to send in the most idiotic idioms you can think of, and I will present the poster of the most ludicrous saying a real, 100% counterfeit No-Prize. I’m not Stan Lee, so obviously I have no business dishing out real No-Prizes. But to keep this in the spirit of Stan the Man’s No-Prize tradition, the winner will have to supply a ridiculous idiom and an explanation as to why it’s not really ridiculous at all. If you don’t know know what the hell I’m on about here, don’t worry. What the sneck has sense got to do with it?
Incidentally, a particularly annoying saying inspired me to write this entry. But as soon as I started to write about the subject, the saying vanished from my Swiss-cheese brain. Fellow sufferers of chronic forgetfulness will understand what I mean. And they’ll also know that as soon as I see/hear the rotten phrase again it’ll sit there in my head like it never went anywhere. So, the first commentator to post that particularly pernicious p-word thing will get an A-grade snide No-Prize. I’ll even gold-plate the bloody thing if you want to believe that I’ve done so.