Who Corrects the Correctors?
April 19, 2011 1:55 AM   Subscribe

"Graphic novel" isn't merely a more sophisticated synonym for "comic book." The "H" in the Montreal Canadiens logo doesn't stand for "Habitants" (it's just "hockey"). What are other examples of wrong "insider" info commonly cited by poseur-types? Stuff that only true experts/fans would be quick to refute, and probably snicker at?

And I don't mean just common factual misconceptions, but the kind of "Y'know/Actually..." stuff that someone would use to impress others with, to seem knowledgeable, or to fit in. eg, a guy on a date at a sporting event, or an uncool uncle.

A less sure example: From what I can tell, Manchester United fans don't actually like to call their team "Man U"... but that seems open to debate.

Another example might be the use of "backslash" instead of "slash" when giving a URL, but that's usually more of an innocent mistake.

Or when people complained that a DVD of an old movie wasn't in widescreen format, when in reality the movie was never shot that way to begin with. Or like when Star Wars first came out, how it was "all done with computers."
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing to Grab Bag (76 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A less sure example: From what I can tell, Manchester United fans don't actually like to call their team "Man U"... but that seems open to debate.

We certainly don't. It's "United", or "Man United". "Man U" is only used derisively, by fans of other teams.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:11 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Not sure if this is the kind of thing you're looking for or not, but Eskimos don't actually have many words for snow. When people tell me (I study language) that they do, I take it as a sign that the person doesn't quite know what they're talking about.
posted by forza at 2:39 AM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Science is absolutely full of these. I've lost count of the things I was taught as fact at school that were either half-true or complete nonsense. Here's a list of a few of them.

Thankfully a lot of these are beginning to be addressed in textbooks now.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:05 AM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

deportivo la coruna should actually be deportivo da coruna
posted by freddymetz at 3:15 AM on April 19, 2011

Best answer: How about You are not so smart? It starts with a misconception and then tells you what is really going on.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 3:16 AM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

For general language mistakes, especially in a misguided attempt to seem educated, there's hypercorrection.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:18 AM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

A less sure example: From what I can tell, Manchester United fans don't actually like to call their team "Man U"... but that seems open to debate.
"Red Devils" is actually a good example for this question. I can't remember the last time I heard them called that in a way that wasn't slightly sarcastic the UK, but it's used all the time and with a straight face on the US network streams my, uh, friend watches Premiership football on.
posted by caek at 3:30 AM on April 19, 2011

Serve some Moet champagne and pronounce it Mo-et and someone will almost certainly tell you it's prounounced Mo-ay, but they're wrong (scroll down to "Pronunciation").

As for Star Wars, it was all done with computers. Not CGI, but computer-controlled cameras. Or was that your point?
posted by zanni at 3:39 AM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Hackers are evil people who break into computers and break things.
posted by carter at 3:57 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

That the Baseball World Series was named after a newspaper.
posted by unsliced at 4:12 AM on April 19, 2011

The tomato is not a vegetable. My refutation, from a few years ago, is here. Other answers in that thread may be useful as well.

N.B.: I did not give "the tomato is a fruit" as an example of incorrect knowledge.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:26 AM on April 19, 2011

Question : In your first example, are you referring to how a regular comic book reader wouldn't refer to a "floppy" or "single" as a "graphic novel"? In other words, a graphic novel is generally a flat-bound collection of separate, sequentially-issued comic books, but not the single issue with the staple binding..?

Comic books and their terminology are always messy because the name "comic" book derives, in part, from their earliest American origins as collections of previously printed Sunday humor strips. Once superhero books took over in the late 30s (and returned in the 60s) as the dominant form, the "books" weren't really necessarily "comic."

Other countries were fortunate in that the art style (what Scott McCloud would call "sequential art") was given a broader name, such as bande dessinee in France, which derives from "drawn strip" or manga in Japan, which is my favorite, as it translates into "irresponsible drawing."

If you know any true old-timers with comics, they would refer to them as "funny books," like my Depression-era grandparents did.
posted by Slothrop at 4:29 AM on April 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

In electrical, many people think that a three-way switch is three switches that all turn off the same lights. In fact, a three-way switch is when you have two switches in your house that both control the same light.

You use a four-way switch if you have three switches to control the same light.

The terms three-way and four-way relate to the number of wire conductors that an electrician would need to run to make it work, not to the number of switches being used.

You can definitely tell that someone is clueless about construction (and electrical) if they say that they do not need a three-way switch, because there will only be two switch locations.

I could cite other examples of people thinking they know construction - but three-way switches are my favorite.
posted by Flood at 5:01 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

deportivo la coruna should actually be deportivo da coruna

What? I think you might just have done what the OP seeks examples of. If anything, it should be Deportivo de La Coruña.
posted by AwkwardPause at 5:04 AM on April 19, 2011

Bastille Day celebrates the liberation of four forgers, two "lunatics" and one "deviant" aristocrat. That's it. The real goal was all the gunpowder.

Thanksgiving celebrates a meal of Indian corn, not that was shared by the Indians, but was found in a few fresh burial mounds.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:06 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ralph Lauren's last name is not pronounced "la-ren."

The acute accent is misused all the time in an attempt to look French. Desserts are filled with "créme" - the correct word is crème. There is no á in the French language.

You don't put your foot on your knee in tree pose, but wannabe yogis do it all the time in photos.

Cats get miscategorized by breed all the time, usually based on their coloring, though purebred cats are fairly rare. Shorthaired cats of unknown lineage are properly called "domestic shorthair" - the American shorthair is a distinct breed. People will identify longhaired tabby cats as Maine Coons and point to the "M" pattern on the cat's forehead as proof, when in fact that marking is common to all tabby cats. Solid gray cats are automatically assumed to be Russian Blues, white cats with markings on their foreheads and tails are miscategorized as Turkish Vans, when in fact these are common colors/patterns that occur in many breeds.

Nearly every super-common nickname for a large city is not used by any of that city's inhabitants, e.g. "Hotlanta" or "Chi-Town." There are probably all sorts of tourist misconceptions for every city. I once read a terrible romance novel that took place in Chicago; the wealthy romantic-interest guy lived in a fancy "uptown" apartment building with a doorman. Uptown is the name of an actual neighborhood in Chicago, and it's not the kind of neighborhood where apartment buildings have doormen. The characters also talked about visiting "the Navy Pier" - it's never called "the" Navy Pier, and it's a destination for tourists and sometimes offsite corporate gatherings, hardly ever inhabitants.

I've heard several of my fellow alumni insist that our college is the true and original "Harvard of the Midwest." There are several dozen other schools that claim the exact same thing.

I expect someone will come along and either correct me or miscorrect me on any of the above.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:06 AM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

three-way switches are my favorite.
posted by Flood

Three switches are most commonly implemented with two three-ways and one four-way, though you could use three four-ways, but two would be wired three-way.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:09 AM on April 19, 2011

Manufacturers labels often contain the assurance that their ingredients are ALL NATURAL, and there is a big push when developing new products and flavors for chemists to keep it this way. The gimmick implies that their competitors are serving you a lesser quality product, and that theirs is made only from ingredients that were picked off of the ground in some lush food-filled paradise. However, there is no strict FDA definition of what 'all natural' means. Typically, it just implies that although the ingredients contained in the product were synthesized in a factory or lab, they could have otherwise be found in nature. This does not exclude animal products that are raised with hormones or injected with saline for bulk, genetically altered food products, extracts from natural sources like high fructose corn syrup, etc. Despite the fact that it is merely a grand marketing ploy, 63 percent of consumers still say they have a preference for foods and beverages that are labeled as 'all natural.'
posted by genekelly'srollerskates at 5:21 AM on April 19, 2011

The "v" in caveat is pronounced like a "w."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:22 AM on April 19, 2011

At Fenway Park it is not The Pesky Pole that sits out in right field it is Pesky's Pole, named for Johhny Pesky.
posted by Gungho at 5:25 AM on April 19, 2011

I've heard it claimed that the earth has a "second moon", usually referring to the asteroid 3753 Cruithne. It doesn't actually orbit the earth, but since it orbits the sun almost exactly once per earth year, it appears to retrace the same curve relative to us every year. As far as anybody knows, we still have just the one natural satellite.

The infamous line from Jurassic Park about Unix has been frequently mocked, but the interface shown in the movie actually existed as a (somewhat gimmicky) tech demo for SGI IRIX.

Related to your Star Wars example: Tron is often referred to as the first movie to use computer animation. This is basically true, but the technology was so slow and limited that it was only used for certain scenes, such as exterior shots and the lightcycle sequences. The glowy, computery look of the live-action segments was the result of laborious traditional animation and camera effects.
posted by teraflop at 5:35 AM on April 19, 2011

This thread may have some good answers, there have been other similar questions in the past as well.
posted by TedW at 5:36 AM on April 19, 2011

In physics, it used to be commonly said that an object's mass increases as it moves faster due to relativistic effects. This really isn't the best way to think about it, and most working physicists view this notion of "relativistic mass" as an inelegant way of thinking about the situation. (It's best viewed in terms of the definition of momentum instead.) Anyone who says that "mass increases as you go faster" probably got the statement from an outdated popular account of special relativity.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:46 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. It's not a very significant day to most Mexicans.

It often happens that when people accuse someone else of being a Philistine, they pronounce it wrong.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:47 AM on April 19, 2011

Which reminds me - most Drosophila "fruit flies" (including D. melanogaster) don't feed on fruit, but on the fungii and yeasts associated with rotting fruit.
posted by Pinback at 5:51 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Question : In your first example, are you referring to how a regular comic book reader wouldn't refer to a "floppy" or "single" as a "graphic novel"? In other words, a graphic novel is generally a flat-bound collection of separate, sequentially-issued comic books, but not the single issue with the staple binding..?
"Graphic novel" should be used to mean a bound book published as a whole, not a collection of previously serialized comics. E.g. Watchmen and Walking Dead were originally published as singles and thus their collections (trade paperbacks or hardcovers) are not "graphic novels." There's more money in publishing comics as periodicals first and then collecting them at present in the US than publishing directly as a graphic novel.
posted by davextreme at 6:24 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: "Y'know, humans only use 10% of the brain's capacity."

Has no factual foundation or support.
posted by General Tonic at 6:29 AM on April 19, 2011

The "v" in caveat is pronounced like a "w."

Only if you're using it in a classical Latin context. If it's being used as an English word (e.g. "there are a few caveats"), then it should be pronounced as an English 'v.'

And, as it happens, the most common 'Latin' use these days is the phrase "caveat emptor," which is not actually classical Latin, nor did the concept it represents form part of the Roman law. Walton H. Hamilton, The Ancient Maxim Caveat Emptor, 40 Yale L. J. 1133 (1931). The phrase doesn't appear in writing until the mid-16th century (e.g. Fitzherbert's 1534 Boke of Husbandrie; here's the page in question). So that phrase and its derivatives should be pronounced with an English 'v.'

Hackers are evil people who break into computers and break things.

As just about any dictionary will tell you, that is, in fact, one appropriate definition.
posted by jedicus at 6:30 AM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Columnist/talking head/ordinary person trying to sound lofty: "But that merely begs the question: blah blah blah blah?"

Philosopher/philosophy student/pedant: "Ahhh! You can't say that! "Begging the question" doesn't mean "raises the question", it refers to circular reasoning, viz., assuming in the premise the conclusion you are supposed to be arguing for!"

Columnist/talking head/ordinary person trying to sound lofty: "Boo-yah! My version's in the dictionary!"

Philosopher/philosophy student/pedant: (commits seppuku)
posted by Beardman at 6:39 AM on April 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

Anyone who tells me that Tarot cards originally came from the Egyptians has been reading too many books in the occult section and not enough books in the history section.
posted by hermitosis at 6:40 AM on April 19, 2011

Anyone who works in comics will use the term "comics" to describe their community and their job. You may be working ON a graphic novel or a mini or whatever, but your medium is comics. Very few people will describe their work as "manga" unless talking to someone outside the industry who will respond to that term, or making some subtextual point. No one says "comic books" anymore, really. If someone says they're a graphic novelist they're being a little snooty, or haven't really integrated in the comics community yet.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:46 AM on April 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

Rhaomi: "For general language mistakes, especially in a misguided attempt to seem educated, there's hypercorrection"

That Wikipedia article sums up every language pet peeve of mine!
posted by radioamy at 6:48 AM on April 19, 2011

The blue-and-white symbol in BMW's logo is not a spinning propeller. Though BMW has made aero motors, the symbol is an engineering symbol commonly seen on blueprints and, oddly, crash test dummies done in the colors of the state flag of Bavaria.

Unfortunately I don't have a cite for this, but it's what I was told during training BMW North America HQ. Also, the BMW logo predates BMW's first flying engines.
posted by workerant at 6:51 AM on April 19, 2011

Unfortunately I don't have a cite for this

Here's one [pdf] via Wikipedia.
posted by jedicus at 6:59 AM on April 19, 2011

Hackers are evil people who break into computers and break things.

Going to dispute this one. Hackers, of course, is a term originating in the Midnight Computer Society at MIT, who absolutely broke into computers, and sometimes broke things. They did it in the spirit of intellectual inquiry, but nevertheless, the original definition stands - those who reprogram or otherwise modify computer systems without authorization for their own ends.

Since what they were doing was so damn cool, and the name kinda edgy and had some serious geek cred, the term stuck for people who repurpose computer technology, and now, pretty much any technology. Nevertheless, computer criminals being described as hackers is consistent with the origin and meaning of the term. They're just jerks that computer hobbyists, who can also be described as hackers, really don't like or want to be associated with.

What's more, the most used replacement for "Hackers" as "Computer Criminals" are "Crackers" - this is absolutely incorrect. Crackers are a defined Hacker subculture from the 8-bit days who worked to circumvent software copy protection, not general purpose black-hats.

So, there you go - those who say that computer criminals are crackers and not hackers would be an example that brings out the nerd pedant.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:08 AM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

That it's "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well."

It is, in fact, "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio."
posted by dirtdirt at 7:27 AM on April 19, 2011

Slap*Happy: According to the Jargon File, members of MIT's Tech Model Railroad Club and AI Lab were the first known to have called themselves hackers in the technological sense. This is backed up by the TMRC itself, which claims to have used the term since the late 1950s, before the Midnight Computer Wiring Society, and before the PDP-1 that the MCWS hacked on was created.
posted by skymt at 7:44 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I often hear people using "bacteria" and "virus" interchangably, which is a red flag that they don't really know what they are talking about.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 7:51 AM on April 19, 2011

Best answer: The world of IT is full of these:

Digital picture is better. The transport medium really doesn't dictate the quality. You can have a gorgeous analog reproduction compared to a crappy overcompressed digital representation.

Java, being run in a virtual machine is inherently safer than any other code. The virtual machine itself is quite an effective target for hackers.

That Internet Explorer is an insecure browser. When we look at released statistics from hacker "crime packs" we see successful exploits are done via exploitable 3rd party plugins (java, flash, adobe) etc and not the browser itself.

Frequent password changes are good. A recent MS study showed that when administrators force users to change too frequently the password often ends up written on a sticky or users just use simple easy to remember words. A more complex, less frequently changed password is better.

That running as a local admin with UAC is the same as running as a limited user. Running as an admin with UAC gives a lot more default permissions than running as a limited. The UAC only pop-ups in limited cases.

Disk drives need to be overwritten multiple times to be securely erased. A simple zero'ing out of the drive with one pass effectively erases the drive. No one has shown to be able to retrieve meaningful data from this method.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:57 AM on April 19, 2011

Best answer: As a doctor I run into various misconceptions at work, I wouldn't necessarily call the people who state them 'poseurs', just propagators of old wives' tales.

For example, that a fracture is different than a broken bone. No, they're the same thing. "I know it's fractured, doc, but.... is it broken??"

Also people still think you can catch a cold by being cold. They'll say "she was outside without a jacket all day yesterday, so of course she's sick now!"

One really common misconception amongst people who are more concerned with 'holistic health' is that things labeled 'natural' are always good for you, whereas medicines provided by doctors are 'unnatural' or 'toxic'. This is very frustrating. Anything can be toxic, it just depends on the dose. Plenty of 'natural' things can kill you, and being reticent about taking necessary medications could also cost you your life.

Probably books have been written about this sort of thing, I could go on for a long time so I'll just stop there...
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:17 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cabbies in DC will tell you that we don't have skyscrapers in the District because the builders of DC outlawed any building that would be taller than the Washington Monument (sometimes they say the Capitol, but it's the same idea). That's not quite true - there is a height restriction on buildings in DC, but the act was passed to maintain the city's low, sprawling, "Parisian" feel, and the relevant section never explicitly mentions the Washington Monument.
posted by timetoevolve at 8:35 AM on April 19, 2011

Anyone who tells me that Tarot cards originally came from the Egyptians has been reading too many books in the occult section and not enough books in the history section.

Likewise gypsies. They came from India, not Egypt.
posted by Segundus at 8:40 AM on April 19, 2011

A favorite of one of my literature professors: W.E.B. Du Bois' last name is properly pronounced "do BOYS", not "do BWAH".
posted by jalexei at 8:43 AM on April 19, 2011

1. Neither Bogie, nor Bergman - nor anyone else in the film "Casablanca" - ever says, "Play it again, Sam." Ilsa says, "Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By,"" and Rick says, "You played it for her, you can play it for me!" but the line everyone thinks they remember is a misquote. Woody Allen certainly knew that when he used it as the title of his play and subsequent film.

2. Two common "quotes" from the original Star Trek television series were never spoken on-screen: "Beam me up, Scotty" and "Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor not a [insert occupation]." The word "beam" and the name "Scotty" were used together plenty of times, but not that specific sentence, and McCoy never swore.

3. One of my favorites: "Music hath charms to sooth the Savage Beast"... um, no, what Congreve wrote was, "Music hath Charms to soothe the Savage BReast."

4. And of course, Darth Vader didn't say, "Luke, I am your father," he said, "No. I am your father."
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 9:00 AM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Serve some Moet champagne and pronounce it Mo-et and someone will almost certainly tell you it's prounounced Mo-ay

Ditto when one is serving a meritage, an American varietal which rhymes with "heritage", yet people love to "correct" me that it's "mair-ih-TAHHHHJJJJ"—as though, because it's wine, we must default to the snottiest pronunciation.

Texans love to brag that the Lone Star flag is the only one that is "allowed" by US flag protocol to be flown at the same height as the US flag, because Texas is the only state that was previously an independent republic.

The fact is that all state flags may be flown at the same height as the US flag, but no state is allowed to fly their flag higher than the US.

Don't go correcting Texans about this though or you'll get run out of town (says the native Texan who has tried).
posted by pineapple at 9:14 AM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I know a little about crime, drugs, politics, live entertainment, and pro wrestling. All four of these, due to the omnipresence of unreliable narrators and willingly self-deluding audiences, not to mention the distortions caused by media, are replete with this sort of thing. People have explained to me sincerely that LSD-25 is so named because it's 25 times better than regular LSD; that wrestlers produce blood in a certain way, or that the undercards are entertainment but sometimes the title matches are real; that the first (Undertaker|Ultimate Warrior|Mike Huckabee) died, and that's why the one on TV looks so different from the one you know... as long as accurate information on an interesting topic is limited, people will claim Hidden Truth to get attention, certify their genius, skim money from the marks, or just Be Right.
posted by jtron at 9:25 AM on April 19, 2011

Forgot to emphasize that around 90% of public opining on matters related to sport or celebrity or most essentially government are this.
posted by jtron at 9:29 AM on April 19, 2011

Oh, and the affectation that drives me bonkers, makes me want to pull hair:

"High tea" is not the fancy one that happens at 3 PM in chandeliered hotels with scones and finger sandwiches and clotted cream and extended pinky fingers. That is afternoon tea.

High tea is served at 5 PM (at a "high" table, ie dinner table) and is a light supper with meats. There are no tea cakes or champagne to be found. It's also usually the time you feed children, so a mum might say "the children are having their tea," while the adults will be eating much later.

To remember which is which, one should say, "it's high time we had something to eat"—i.e. we're legitimately hungry, let's have an early supper.

I guess people mistakenly conflated the "high tea" with "high class"... but it truly drives me mad.

(and don't even get me started on the use of the word "class" or "classy")
posted by pineapple at 9:33 AM on April 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: My favorite linguistic example along these lines is people who screw up their attempts to criticize someone else's writing for containing passives. It's an extra-snicker-worthy trifecta if a) there is no passive construction in the example, b) the criticizer calls it the passive tense, and c) the critique is itself in the passive voice.

You might also be interested to read what Language Log has written about "incorrections" and the variations on "Muphry's Law".
posted by ootandaboot at 9:37 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

In college, had a fellow English-major classmate who was somehow stuck on split infinitives. Whenever we'd had have to trade papers for proofing/editing, that was the one thing she'd point out--consistently, repeatedly, like I was offending her by my constant breaking of this rule. Which, I learned later, isn't really much of a rule at all. Boy, was I satisfied when I came across that one.
posted by litnerd at 10:04 AM on April 19, 2011

Hanukkah is not the "Jewish Christmas," nor is it the most important Jewish holiday of the year.

The Wells Library at Indiana University is not sinking an inch a year.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:55 AM on April 19, 2011

People who say "utilize" all the time when they mean "use". They must be getting this idea because words of Norman origin tend to be higher register than Saxon words. I see it in scholarly papers all the damn time.

Well actually "utilize" means "use in a way not originally intended" and "use" means "use". We didn't UTILIZE the search engine to search, we USED the search engine to search.

So I might "use" this pointer to point out the number of times "utilize" appears in your paper, but I would "utilize" this pointer to run you through for putting back the word "utilize" after I was nice enough to replace it with the word "use".
posted by tel3path at 10:58 AM on April 19, 2011 [8 favorites]

A labret piercing is not called a labray.
posted by gally99 at 11:15 AM on April 19, 2011

The "v" in caveat is pronounced like a "w."

Well, traditionally. What you say is true in a sense, but also qualifies as an example of the OP's question. We don't actually know for sure how ancient Romans pronounced things.
posted by cmoj at 11:35 AM on April 19, 2011

Fast food pet peeve - advertising a burger "with Au Jus." The "with" is redundant since "au jus" means "with juice."
posted by media_itoku at 12:32 PM on April 19, 2011

Seconding Hanukkah isn't the Jewish Christmas...
Also the leprosy we read about in Leviticus wasn't actually leprosy, it was a strange skin disease (tzara'at) that could also affect houses and clothes! Luckily, it (so far) only existed in Biblical times.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 1:10 PM on April 19, 2011

Oh, and Plato didn't advocate a democracy; he preferred a meritocracy...and hated democracies.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 1:11 PM on April 19, 2011

People often refer to ammunition magazines as "clips," but a clip is technically something different. Whether or not someone pointing out the distinction could be considered an "insider poser" depends on the company. It is technically correct to differentiate, but it's also kind of gauche to call someone out on it.
Also in the firearms community, depending on where you live, using the term "concealed carry" is a misnomer. A lot of states have "Shall Issue" permits, but you will see firearms instructors offering "Concealed Carry" courses. A Shall Issue state makes no distinction about concealment, they award permits for carrying. Period. A person using the phrase "Concealed Carry" is telegraphing their ignorance.
That only applies to states with Shall Issue policies.
posted by Demogorgon at 1:42 PM on April 19, 2011

Best answer: Seattle-based: my in-laws from eastern Washington always use an infuriating in-the-know tone when speaking of the landmark Pike Place Market on the waterfront. They call it "Pike's".

Growing up in Seattle, we shortened it to "the public market" (not all that much shorter, really) but never ever called it Pike's. It's as telling a marker of being non-local as calling San Francisco "Frisco".

(Every time they mention going to Pike's, I make sure to ask them, "Who's Pike?")
posted by themissy at 1:45 PM on April 19, 2011

On the pronunciation of 'valet'.
posted by pompomtom at 2:53 PM on April 19, 2011

Oh yah, we took the yacht across to the Scillies, anchored in Porth Conger and went ashore on Goo.

... No. Gugh, pronounced like Hugh, is an island in the Isles of Scilly. For futher clarification, Gough Island is in the South Atlantic, and guff is what many yachties talk a lot of. And I don't know why it's 'Porth' is said 'Per' in this case, but it is. And it's not 'Scilly Isles' either. And then there's the whole 'Gulf Stream' hype, aargh....
posted by Lebannen at 3:26 PM on April 19, 2011

If anyone EVER, in an attempt to sell you something, claims that something is "state-of-the-art", they have revealed themselves to be an untrustworthy dolt, who, in addition to having no clue as to what they are talking about, has apparently sized you up as being both less informed than they are and gullible. They are to be avoided.

If you have lingering doubts, you may want to throw out a few "test" questions just to get a better feel for their understanding of state-of-the-art. A couple quick examples:

"I don't really use the backseat of my car that often anymore. Do you think I'd get much better sound if I replaced the backseat with the ASTROBLAST2000 woofer?"

"How long have you been a Staples Team Member?"

"We love the convenience of the 4 car garage so close to the street, which basically means this house has lots of curb appeal, which is totally awesome for resale value, right?"

"This shampoo says "Certified 80% Organic' on the label, but that other 20% is probably close to organic, right?"
posted by nickjadlowe at 4:01 PM on April 19, 2011

Vinyl records in it's analog form (given they are mastered properly), are much superior than the common forms of digital music -- CDs, mp3s. If you keep the record clean and have a really good turntable setup you will not hear pops or crackles. Even on a decent entry level table, you won't really hear pops on brand new records.

Also seconding the city name thing. I live in Los Angeles and rarely anyones uses "La La Land," and it sounds terrible. Some locals do, but I dislike the shortening of "Cali." Most people I know that say that are out of towners or transplants. I'm not particularly fond of most shortenings and I don't say them unless almost all locals use it. For example I would not say "frisco," "chi-town," or "nawlins."
posted by xtine at 4:47 PM on April 19, 2011

Best answer: You might be interested in Shibboleths. For example:

"While the term "innings" is used in both cricket and baseball, in baseball it is treated solely as a plural form, with the singular form "inning". In cricket, "innings" is both a singular and a plural. Thus, a batter (baseball) has an at-bat during an inning, whereas a batsman (cricket) has an innings. It is therefore easy to spot someone talking about one of these sports if they have more experience talking about the other."
posted by Midnight Rambler at 5:07 PM on April 19, 2011

Lots of people try to convey familiarity with San Francisco by calling it "Frisco," but locals never, ever call it that.
posted by rhiannonstone at 5:26 PM on April 19, 2011

People refer to many dogs as pit bulls when they really aren't.
posted by illenion at 6:44 PM on April 19, 2011

Lots of people try to convey familiarity with San Francisco by calling it "Frisco," but locals never, ever call it that.

Locals also don't call it "San Fran."
posted by ewiar at 7:49 PM on April 19, 2011

The University of Notre Dame's name is pronounced in the most anglicized way possible. (No-ter Dayme.) People with little familiarity with the school will often try and pronounce it the same way as the Parisian church.

There are a number of these: Versailles (ver-Sales) OH, Vienna (vye-ENNE-ah) GA, etc.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:11 PM on April 19, 2011

Response by poster: I've marked the answers that most closely matched what I had in mind. The "You Are Not So Smart" site is just awesome and I'll have to check it out often.

For the most part I didn't really consider grammatical corrections because they're just so murky (as evidenced by some of the grammar threads here).

The "graphic novel" example was inspired by an MST3K episode ("Oh, that's like from the Batman comic book." "It's not a comic book, it's a graphic novel!"). I know it's debated on whether trade paperbacks should be called graphic novels, but I think it's generally agreed that no one actually refers to periodical newsstand issues as such because "comics" is considered derogatory.

The Star Wars computer thing came from Lucas himself, who would remark that back in the '70s and '80s, people didn't realize how much of the visual effects were done with rigorous, time-consuming model work and stop motion. (That does make me think there must be examples where people might attribute a scene in a modern movie to CGI, when in fact there was no CGI involved.)

The shibbeloth list was very enlightening, especially the frequent mispronunciation of Calgary as "cal-ghery," and "spelunker" being a sign of inexperience. That's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

And I'd intended to use "Frisco" as another example, but forgot. Those misguided geographical nicknames fit perfectly also.

The misquotations wasn't really what I had in mind, unless it was commonly in the context of, say, someone claiming to be a fan of classic cinema, and then using the Casablanca misquote. If people are always saying that "Dr" Spock is their favorite Star Trek character, that would work.

I realized that this is something that Michael on The Office does all the time to appear cultured or authoritative. Take his "Moe" impression in the pilot (actually Curly), and then mocking a befuddled Pam because "Oh, it's a guy thing, you wouldn't understand."
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:19 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Three more instances: The baseball fan who insists their team should simply include draft picks in a trade for a big-name player (MLB doesn't permit it).

The parent who blames a kid's hyperactivity on sugar (similar to the blaming of a cold on cold weather).

The poker player who goes "I'll see your bet...... and raise you" (it has to be clear when your turn is complete). And you can't always judge a play you see on televised tournaments based on one hand, because so few are actually left in the edit, and an unusual play may have been made because of what happened earlier.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:51 PM on April 19, 2011

That does make me think there must be examples where people might attribute a scene in a modern movie to CGI, when in fact there was no CGI involved.

Funnily enough, Cracked.com just did an article on that very subject.
8 Movie Special Effects You Won't Believe Aren't CGI
posted by WhackyparseThis at 2:47 AM on April 20, 2011

There is no educational instutition called the "University of Indiana." The large university with its main campus in Bloomington, Indiana, is "Indiana University." Occasionally seen from sportscasters, who should know better, when talking about the school's athletic teams.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:42 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another English football one: no-one in England would refer to a "club" as a "franchise" - that's strictly an American usage.

There's one exception to this, Milton Keynes Dons, who are known, derisively, as "Franchise FC". Short story: the club moved from Wimbledon in London to Milton Keynes, leaving its former fans with no team to support. In the US, this wouldn't be uncommon, as I understand it, but in the UK it's unknown, except for this one example. The fans formed a new club, which started in the 11th division of English football and is now in the 5th, only 2 below the original club. The new club is pretty much disliked by everyone.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:55 PM on April 25, 2011

Good question. Two examples I can think of-

There is a Polish joke -
Why did the Polish fan of Joseph Conrad learn English? So he could read his works as they were written.
The meta joke being that Conrad, whilst Polish being his native tongue, did indeed write in English.

Regarding whiskey, many people claim that the 'correct' way to drink whiskey is either straight or on the rocks. However, whiskey tasters will tell you to have it at room temperature (ice makes the alcohol 'sharp') and with some distilled water to taste (to "open out" the flavour). Bars in Scotland will generally have a water jug on the bar.
posted by spongeboy at 1:07 AM on April 26, 2011

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