Between reading blogs and watching sports on TV over the weekend, I was exposed to a few expressions that are, well, just wrong, dammit!

Walk the talk — no, it’s talk the talk vs walk the walk. The former is easier than the latter. If you walk the talk, aren’t you repeatedly putting your foot in your mouth?

Untracked — as in, “The quarterback finally got untracked.” No. It’s a train metaphor. He got “on track.” Something that is untracked has gotten off the rails, and that’s not where you want to be.

But (h/t to Lev) it turns out that there’s a collection of these mistaken words and phrases (no doubt collected using cheap central American labor combined with the nimble fingers of Asian children in sweat shops). Yay! Someone else is doing this for me!

Common Errors in English

It’s fairly long, because English is a horribly mixed-up language, but to give you an idea of the completeness, it even has quantum leap, something about which I’ve already complained.

The thing about quantum leaps is that they mark an abrupt change from one state to a distinctly different one, with no in-between transitional states being possible; but they are not large. In fact, in physics a quantum leap is one of the smallest sorts of changes worth talking about. Leave “quantum leap” to the subatomic physicists unless you know what you’re talking about.

OK, it’s not perfect, since you can have a leap that encompasses other allowable transitions, but the gist is right, and it puts this a leg up on the Bad Astronomer.