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#1 2005-12-08 19:05:19

klakritz
Eggcornista
From: Winchester Massachusetts
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 674

'alterior motive' for 'ulterior motive'

‘Alter’ = ‘other.’ So an alterior motive would be a motive other than the manifest or acknowledged one. This is common, > 19,000 ghits. Examples:

But we all know that truly moral actions are rarely done by politicians, and the
word “moral” is more of a redflag for an alterior motive than anything.
watchblog.com/cgi-bin/wb-comments.cgi?entry_id=2355

By the way I also have an alterior motive for trying to find her someone special. I am trying to save my husband from a painful death.
forums.pimprig.com/showthread.php?threadid=57765

Terrorists are putting a religious spin on their acts, although I do not think
that their alterior motive is religion, but power.
forums.techguy.org/archive/t-416252.html

I was trying to look for the alterior motive in her comment and I really can’t find it.
talk.ocregister.com/showthread. php?goto=newpost&t=16743

Well, I hope he doesn’t have an alterior motive. I don’t think he does.
www.ojar.com/view_6382.htm

They all have an alterior motive – that is to tell the story the way they see it.
www.theconversationcafe.com/ forums/archive/index.php/t-7071.html

its great becuase now i can communicate openly and directly
with females without having some kind of alterior motive or hidden agenda.
www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index.php?showtopic=16957

... in a way that would provide a decent living for the holder of those positions, it would provide much less of an alterior motive.
www.atsnn.com/story/104100.html

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#2 2007-07-24 15:32:22

nilep
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-03-21
Posts: 291

Re: 'alterior motive' for 'ulterior motive'

klakritz wrote:

‘Alter’ = ‘other.’ So an alterior motive would be a motive other than the manifest or acknowledged one. This is common, > 19,000 ghits.

Spotted in the wild (July 20th, Democracy in America comments section):

Watch out, America. This is the loose canon that pushed us toward war so Haliburton would reap the benefits and of course help build Cheney’s retirement funds. Just what we need, a leader with an alterier motive.
www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamer … sident.cfm

A search for {alterier-motive} returns 956 raw Google hits, while {alterier} alone nets 3,370. Examples:

I have a theory on what is everyones constant alterier motive. always.I believe that the ego in a person controles everything.
www.sciforums.com/The-constant-alterier … 33200.html

I mean yea, I’m sure there’s an alterier motive behind his doing it but who just wanted Clark to see how after saving Lex’s ass countless times that Lex
www.killermovies.com/forums/archive/

Yah I used your site for alterier motives. Small Talk.
www.vewgle.com/showthread.php?t=3897

I concur with klakritz that “alter”~”different”, thereby leading to the eggcorn-ish understanding.

I also found it interesting that many of the pages containing “alterier” also include either misspellings, instant-message type abbreviations, or other markers of colloquial or non-careful writing, which is to be expected, I think.

On the other hand, “alterier” with an <e> gets far fewer hits than “alterior” with an <o>, suggesting that people are familiar with the spelling of “ulterior”, or perhaps that there is some (morphological? historical?) clue toward this spelling.

By the way, there are now more than 24,000 hits for “alterior motive”, but five of the first ten hits appear to be names (of web pages or musical groups), and the first hit is this forum. Is it possible that the rock bands, web pages, etc. using “Alterior Motive” as a name contribute to the <o> spelling? Just a thought.

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#3 2007-07-25 15:51:48

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: 'alterior motive' for 'ulterior motive'

Nilep writes:

“alterier” with an <e> gets far fewer hits than “alterior” with an <o>, suggesting that people are familiar with the spelling of “ulterior”, or perhaps that there is some (morphological? historical?) clue toward this spelling.

I think people base the spelling of “alterior” on words like “superior”, “inferior”, and to a lesser extent “anterior” and “posterior.” (Other -ior words probably don’t apply: behavior, senior, junior, warrior, and prior).

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#4 2007-07-25 19:56:51

booboo
Eggcornista
From: Austin, Tx
Registered: 2007-04-01
Posts: 179

Re: 'alterior motive' for 'ulterior motive'

Good find, klakritz. I’m surprised it wasn’t found until now. I’ve heard this word spoken often, and I agree with your analysis. Perhaps there is an association going on with “alternative”, which would be an example of what you postulate. A few examples from 20k raw hits(perhaps less than half of which are germane):

do want to say HI 37Hz but I have an alternative motive..hehe to have you vote for me mle on thedjlist.com It would mean alot…..mle …
www.myspace.com/37hz – 106k

He suggested I look into paganism as an alternative, he had no alternative motive mind you, since he grew up Wiccan and never did hide it. ...
www.grumpygnome.org/About.html – 12k

What sources are you listening to, does this news source have an alternative motive? Perhaps your news source is part of a large corporation that profits …
www.universitychronicle.com/news/2001/0 … 7771.shtml – 34k

Perhaps a little “subliminal word transfer” going on here?

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#5 2007-07-25 20:45:44

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: 'alterior motive' for 'ulterior motive'

I’m surprised it wasn’t found until now

Actually, if you check the date, Klakritz located the eggcorn back in October 2005. When people hunt through the Forum (as nilep did), their commentary posts make even the most buried of eggcorns rise to the top of the stack.

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#6 2007-08-01 15:31:01

nilep
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-03-21
Posts: 291

Re: 'alterior motive' for 'ulterior motive'

jorkel wrote:

I think people base the spelling of “alterior” on words like “superior”, “inferior”, and to a lesser extent “anterior” and “posterior.” (Other -ior words probably don’t apply: behavior, senior, junior, warrior, and prior).

Yes, I think you’re right. People associate the sound /i@r/ (that is, the high-vowel-plus-rhotic, as in “ulterior”) with the spelling of “superior”, “inferior”, etc. As you say, “behavior” et al. don’t enter into it, since the pronunciation is different.

The less-common eggcorn, *alterier, has an analogy in words like “scarier”. But unlike “superior” etc. these words contain a morpheme boundary. That is, we have a derived comparative adjective, scary + -er.

My original speculation about a morphological cue would therefore be true only in a negative sense. In other words, *alterior is analogous to “superior” because it does not contain a suffix (be that comparative, agentive, or what have you). On the other hand, the less frequent *alterier may get some reinforcement simply from the great frequency of word final <er>.

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#7 2007-09-24 07:27:26

Chris Waigl
Eggcorn Faerie
From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-10-14
Posts: 115
Website

Re: 'alterior motive' for 'ulterior motive'

This is now entered

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