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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2008-10-11 05:26:10

Dixon Wragg
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1265

"preferenced" for "prefaced"

The unfortunate Sarah Palin, from the vice-presidential debate of 10/2/08: “You preferenced your whole comment with …”

I’m not sure the word “preferenced” can be interpreted as being close enough in meaning to “prefaced” to really qualify this as an eggcorn rather than just plain old confusion. Any thoughts on the eggcornicity or lack of it?

In any case, I expect that we can count on Sarah for a regular flow of—to put it charitably—idiosyncratic usages.


Last edited by Dixon Wragg (2008-10-11 05:27:26)



#2 2008-10-12 11:47:00

Registered: 2007-03-21
Posts: 291

Re: "preferenced" for "prefaced"

I, too, listened to the vice presidential debate and noticed Governor Palin’s “you preference your whole comment with” etc. At the time I thought it was just a simple error – a Fay/Cutler malapropism or maybe a classical malapropism.

I didn’t expect to find other examples of it, but I find at least six via Google.

It’s good that you preference your comment with “in my opinion” but it’s just that, your opinion. You have no correlating statistics to back any of it up. … ast-2.html

Maybe I should have preferenced that comment with “Eight years ago, when I graduated…” … ?p=2436659

CHAIR WILSON preferenced her comment by saying that she does not
know what current law dictates. … ES&house=H

In case there was any confusion, Paul preferenced his comment with “Now this I say, [listen carefully] brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Cor. 15:50). … ction.html

my husband was there and i could sense joe saw a wtinessing opportunity with this person. i did not wish to appear at all antagonistic because he preferenced his comment with” well maybe you won’t like me anymore after i say this but this war is illegal….” … 57244.html

She preferenced her comment reading what someone had written comparing Palin to Reagan…. … ntry114488

I don’t see anything obviously eggcorn-like here, but I couldn’t say whether this represents multiple, independent malapropisms (either classical or Fay/Cutler), or if this form is indeed in circulation. Perhaps someone can make a preface >> preference eggcorn analysis.

By the way, I also found two comments on blogs decrying Palin’s (mis)usage.

The real “howler” was not her “Say it ain’t so, Joe” comment but what she said following it which the audience did pick up – she said “Joe, you “PREFERENCED” your comment with….blah, blah. What she meant to say was that he “PREFACED” his comment with an allusion to the past,etc.

I really have no idea what “preferenced your comment” should have been, & the rest of it is not much better.

Even if Palin’s usage was a classical malapropism (which is not clear), I think that to seize upon this as a means of damning her is a poor substitute for actual argumentation. I am not a fan of Governor Palin, but I am a fan of substantive rhetoric.



#3 2008-10-13 04:35:07

Dixon Wragg
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1265

Re: "preferenced" for "prefaced"

nilep wrote:

Even if Palin’s usage was a classical malapropism (which is not clear), I think that to seize upon this as a means of damning her is a poor substitute for actual argumentation.

I haven’t noticed anyone doing this. Have you?

You may have divined that I consider Palin to be approximately on the phylogenetic level of slime mold (and here I mean no offense to slime mold). But I would never thus execrate anyone on the basis of trivialities such as their inarticulateness; we all make amusing mistakes. My loathing for this person is based on far more substantive criteria which are probably beyond the purview of an eggcorn forum.





#4 2008-10-13 10:36:51

From: Colorado
Registered: 2007-09-05
Posts: 285

Re: "preferenced" for "prefaced"

Just some random thoughts: Preface is not a common word in speech. While books commonly have prefaces, I wonder if those who would say “preference” for preface might pronounce preface as “PRE face” and completely miss the association with an introductory section of a book with introductory comments in speech. Preface and pref’rence are fairly close in many people’s pronunciations as well. It seems eggcornish to me in that the users are apparently assigning a new meaning to “preference”: to introduce, yes, but also to influence or “preference” their remarks.

Feeling quite combobulated.



#5 2012-08-10 17:51:03

From: Oakland
Registered: 2006-08-09
Posts: 14

Re: "preferenced" for "prefaced"

Here’s another non-Palin usage I discovered yesterday while searching for the origin of the Toyota model name “Yaris”:

“I suppose I have to take full blame for the response I received beause I preferenced my question by suggesting to my Toyota contact that ‘If you come back and tell me that Vitz is derived from Zits and the V comes from changing the C in Clearisil to a V, I’m outta here.’” … -name.html



#6 2012-08-10 18:44:00

From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 1101

Re: "preferenced" for "prefaced"

If it is not a pure malaprop, might the origin be in a blend with “reference”? As in, you pre-referenced your remarks… I’ll try to find some evidence for this.

Later: Ixnay on the reference-pre.

Last edited by burred (2012-08-10 18:49:51)



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