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#1 2006-02-08 15:41:48

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

"vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

Over 500 ghits for this one. I’m actually surprised there aren’t more – I’ve heard people use this in speech a number of times. Vanilla ice-cream tends to be whiter than the envelopes, though the French vanilla I buy at my local store definitely has a yellowish tinge to it. Examples:

So I was delighted to find a vanilla envelope in my mailbox containing his newest collection of poems.
http://www.newformalist.com/

So taped to the bottom of everyone’s chair, including the wedding party, was a vanilla envelope.He said this was his gift to everyone and asked them to open their envelope. Inside each manila envelope was an 8×10 glossy of his bride having sex with the best man.
http://appliedinspection.co.uk/entertain10.html

At that time, it was distributed by mail: a plain-vanilla envelope with five floppies containing a program protected by a code that did not always work as expected.
http://accurapid.com/journal/28benito.htm

The letter came in a plain vanilla envelope, postmarked Phoenix.
http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/issues/2 … ature.html

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#2 2006-02-09 23:46:36

Fishbait
Member
From: Brookline, MA
Registered: 2005-12-13
Posts: 38
Website

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

This is priceless! “Vanilla envelope” is certainly an eggcorn. But since there is an idiom “plain vanilla” meaning colorless or unadorned, the references to “plain-vanilla envelopes” are not necessary eggcorns, or even mistakes.

David Fried

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#3 2006-02-10 03:52:49

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

True—I was wrestling with just this problem before I posted “vanilla envelope.” The “plain vanilla” idiom you’re referring to—at least as I understand it—means “absolutely typical, very ordinary, of the expected sort,” etc. To me, that’s a 4.5” X 9.5” envelope—or one of the smaller, private letter-size envelopes. An envelope larger than those wouldn’t be “plain vanilla.” (Though of course “vanilla” is also a color word, complicating things further.) So to disambiguate things, I chose as my first three citations ones that made it clear the envelope had to be a good deal larger: a typical 9 X 12 manila envelope would indeed accommodate a small collection of poetry, an 8 X 10 glossy or 5 floppies, but a “plain vanilla” envelope wouldn’t. The fourth citation admittedly remains ambiguous, but I included it anyway because I found the tale of arson it was part of chillingly interesting (and it’s possible it’s an example of the eggcorn).

Also, the idiom “plain manila envelope” gets 658 hits while “plain vanilla envelope” gets only 77 hits. It’s impossible to interpret such raw numbers conclusively, but the fact that there are so few “vanilla” hits suggests to me that lots of them are eggcornish.

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#4 2006-03-28 00:11:02

Fishbait
Member
From: Brookline, MA
Registered: 2005-12-13
Posts: 38
Website

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

Sorry to bring my kids into this again, but they’re a font of eggcorns—in this case, almost unbelievably, “manila extract,” produced just yesterday by my nine-year-old. The obverse of “vanilla envelope.”

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#5 2006-04-22 20:08:31

Dan
Guest

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

From the mouths of babes. My 4 year old grandson, my buddy, likes me to take him to get a manilla ice cream cone.

 

#6 2007-11-17 08:18:23

kardang
Member
Registered: 2007-11-17
Posts: 1

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

I dont’t know the story about Vanilla and Manilla Envelope. But in the PC game Monkey Island 2, you can pick up a Manila Envelope, a vanilla envelope and even a gorilla envelope. The Manila envelope contains all the stuff you lost when you went to jail (a lot), the vanilla Envelope contains a “bottle o’ near grog”. In the gorilla envelope and you will find a banana and an organ.

http://www.worldofmi.com/gamehelp/walk/monkey2.php

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#7 2007-11-18 22:53:49

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

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

When I was a boy, I thought it was “vanilla envelope” and “vanilla paper”(the same yellow-creamy-white color as the envelope, cheap to draw on). I thought it was vanilla paper because it was the color of vanilla ice cream.

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#8 2007-11-19 14:05:11

TootsNYC
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-06-19
Posts: 263

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

but to me, a “plain-vanilla envelope” would be one without fancy printing, of an ordinary paper. It wouldn’t be restricted to SIZE, just to “generic-ness.”

And you can’t get much more generic than a manila envelope. No printing, not fancy paper, in fact it’s the color I would expect paper to be with minimal processing (i.e., no bleach). And it’s an envelope that’s able to be used by pretty much anybody.

And the 9×12 is a standard size.

I think it’s an eggcorn.

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#9 2007-11-20 14:10:34

Tom Neely
Eggcornista
From: Detroit
Registered: 2006-09-01
Posts: 121

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

Plain Vanilla or Manila Envelope locks in from the other side too. Back in the good old days, if you ordered something embarrassing, such as pornography, the ad used to say that they would mail it to you “in a plain brown envelope.” The idea was that your mailman would not be able to tell that you ordered porn. The Plain Brown Envelope would not have an embarrassing return address on it.

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#10 2007-11-25 12:43:05

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

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

So taped to the bottom of everyone’s chair, including the wedding party, was a vanilla envelope.He said this was his gift to everyone and asked them to open their envelope. Inside each manila envelope was an 8×10 glossy of his bride having sex with the best man.
http://appliedinspection.co.uk/entertain10.html

The appearance of both “vanilla envelope” and “manila envelope” in this example makes me suspect that it’s a simple error rather than a true eggcorn.

By my count, that’s two instances of an unrelated idiom (“plain-vanilla”), one error, and one probable eggcorn (the first example).

So I was delighted to find a vanilla envelope in my mailbox containing his newest collection of poems.
http://www.newformalist.com/

There are, by the way, 57 ghits for “a vanilla envelope”, though that includes Eggcorn Forum.

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#11 2007-11-25 22:09:34

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

Nilep wrote:

The appearance of both “vanilla envelope” and “manila envelope” in this example makes me suspect that it’s a simple error rather than a true eggcorn.

I posted this so long ago that I don’t remember exactly what I was thinking in the case of each example chosen, but I have a tendency to choose both unambiguous and ambiguous examples if I can find them. I think I vaguely remember picking that vanilla/manila example exactly because of the doublet.

In any case, yeah, that makes it questionable as an eggcorn. But to me it’s clearly not a “simple” error. The person wrote “manila” correctly (with one “l”) in one case, and “vanilla” correctly (with two l’s) in the other case. That isn’t simple—it’s downright weird. They were clearly thinking of the standard forms of the two different words even though they were using them in consecutive sentences. This isn’t a case of a one-letter substitution, and it’s a bit hard to explain.

But you know what, this kind of weirdness happens all the time—I’ve seen lots of similar examples over the years. It’s especially common on newspaper websites; often the headline will be correct and the first line of the article will have the same word eggcorned. I think this probably occurs most often when someone writes something, and then later realizes they’ve got an error (whether it’s a misspelling, malaprop, or eggcorn). Then they go back and fix one instance of the problem without realizing there’s another one in the line above or below. That may have happened in my example, but I usually expect the first instance to be the correct one in that kind of scenario.

And as I explained at length in an earlier post, the “plain vanilla” data looked unclear to me. It still looks unclear to me. Sorry.

As for the counts, 57 for “a vanilla envelope” sounds about right. But I was counting “vanilla envelope.” Today, if you filter out “plain” in the advanced search setting, the “vanilla envelope” search returns 1180 raw hits, and 435 unique hits. (I don’t think I was aware of the raw/unique distinction at the time I posted this.) If anyone wants more unambiguous examples, they’re easily available.

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#12 2007-11-25 22:48:19

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1456

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

There’s no need to quibble over the few cases where this is not an eggcorn; I think there are plenty of situations where it clearly is. (I will even add my own personal experience to that tally). “Vanilla” makes so much more sense than “manila” as far as imagery goes. So far no one has even mentioned the context for “manila.” From what I can surmise, it has to do with manila hemp—but how many utterers even know that?

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#13 2007-11-27 11:27:18

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

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

patschwieterman wrote:

But to me it’s clearly not a “simple” error. The person wrote “manila” correctly (with one “l”) in one case, and “vanilla” correctly (with two l’s) in the other case. That isn’t simple—it’s downright weird. They were clearly thinking of the standard forms of the two different words even though they were using them in consecutive sentences. This isn’t a case of a one-letter substitution, and it’s a bit hard to explain.

Yes, you are right: it is not a simple error, in the sense of easy to make or easy to explain. (By “simple” I intended “less than a true eggcorn, lacking semantic reanalysis,” though I guess I wouldn’t argue too strongly even for that sense of “simple.”)

I wondered if it might be a spell checker artifact, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. (The first suggestion for *manilla is manila, and for *vanila is vanilla in MS Word 2003.)

In any event, jorkel is right that the existence of questionable examples does not serve as counter evidence to the clearly eggcorn-ish examples.

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#14 2007-12-17 15:42:43

profenatalia
Member
From: SC, USA
Registered: 2007-10-05
Posts: 12

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

This is OT but just in case anyone was wondering, the story about the wedding is an urban legend.

http://www.snopes.com/weddings/embarrass/bothered.asp


polyglots of the world, unite ~ we have nothing to lose but our accents!

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#15 2008-01-15 14:01:11

kchildress1
Member
Registered: 2007-09-13
Posts: 3

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

I found a new example of this today:

MacBook air goes from 0.76in down to 0.16in at the thin end. The thickest part is thinner than the Sony TZ Series. 0.76in vs. 0.8in. It’s so thin, it even fits inside a vanilla envelope – as Mr Jobs demonstrated.

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/01/15/macbook_air/

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#16 2008-01-15 15:46:48

TootsNYC
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-06-19
Posts: 263

Re: "vanilla envelope" for "manila envelope"

they had “corrected” to “manilla” [sic] by the time I got there.

Last edited by TootsNYC (2008-01-15 15:47:07)

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