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#1 2009-12-06 16:30:49

brians
Member
Registered: 2006-03-29
Posts: 22

Four-Stair Heating

“Four-stair heating” at first seems wildly illogical. Unlike “forced-air heating,” it would seem to warm only the first four steps up to the second floor. But I think it could qualify as an eggcorn if people are thinking it would heat four staircases: a whole five-story building.

The few instances indexed by Google seem to have been pulled off the Web, but there are people who discuss this as a known error.

Another business person was writing ad copy about the nice building she had for lease in an older part of town. She proudly included the fact that it had “four-stair heating.” When the ad was published, prospective customers asked to see this special kind of heating system. Four stairs! Sounds fancy! Much better than three stairs or just two! Whoops! Turns out the ad should have been worded to say: “forced-air heating.”

http://www.showandtellforparents.com/wf … srel15.asp

My parents used to say we had forced air heating, but I thought it was ‘four stair heating’... so I would lay on the stairs trying to figure out which four.
http://www.maklink.com/phpBB2/search.ph … c10b3337cf

I also used to think that “forced-air” heating was “four-stair” heating, and I never could understand why we had it when we only lived in one story homes.
http://www.prophecyfellowship.org/showt … 245&page=2

Google suggests that the phrase has appeared in the past in a few recent real estate ads.

Paul Brians
Common Errors in English Usage

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#2 2009-12-06 21:48:09

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 827

Re: Four-Stair Heating

I like it, and it reminded me of one on a similar theme which I came across decades ago; there is a company called ‘Baxi Bermuda’ that makes fires and room heaters which were often referred to as backseat Bermudas suggesting, perhaps, a fire so warm that there is no need to sit close to it. To my surprise there is even a solitary ghit:

BACKSEAT BERMUDA gas fire. Free to collector. 07… £20. 13:08. SONY TRINITORN 26” WIDESCREEN FLAT TV, still availble.. EXCELLENT WORKING ORDER, SILVER …
www.friday-ad.es/Class/1270/Editions/.. … esults.asp

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#3 2009-12-07 03:57:01

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

Re: Four-Stair Heating

I love citations which are testimonials of an eggcorn—the “I used to think…” kind; Those are the best ones.

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#4 2009-12-07 11:00:16

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1796
Website

Re: Four-Stair Heating

I second the motion, Joe.

But it raises a question for me. We have so often given “it makes sense” as the main criterion separating eggcorns from non-eggcornish malaprops. How do we classify cases where the “I used to think” testimonial includes the confession “it didn’t make sense”? E.g.

I would lay on the stairs trying to figure out which four.

I never could understand why we had it

[elsewhere on this site] I could not figure out why in the world the youth in asia … would want to kill old people.

These reshapings (judging from my own experience) can sit (or do they lie?) in your subconscious like a dislocated shoulder: you know quite surely what the pieces are but you are uncomfortably aware that they do not fit together right.
.
I’m wanting to say that this is probably a/the? major difference between eggcorns and mondegreens—mondegreens typically do not make wonderfully comfortable sense: why would King David be talking about “good Mrs. Murphy” following him at the end of the 23rd Psalm, and why would one lead pigeons to the flag? Yet they sometimes do fit in comfortably: Lady Mondegreen fits quite well into the ballad. In fact, Sylvia Wright suggested, in the same sentence where she christened them “mondegreens”, that “The point about […] them, is that they are better than the original.” I suspect she was including in the concept of “better” the notion of making better sense (at least to the mind of the mondegreener.)

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2009-12-08 01:00:50)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#5 2009-12-07 17:36:33

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

Re: Four-Stair Heating

I think David makes a good point: some of those “personal testimony” posts can provide better evidence for malaprop status. Though it can get complicated. The citation below is one of the “four-stair heating didn’t make sense to me” reminiscences, but it manages to show that the logic brians imputes to the reshaping is possible for some speakers:

I also used to think that “forced-air” heating was “four-stair” heating, and I never could understand why we had it when we only lived in one story homes.
http://www.prophecyfellowship.org/showt … 245&page=2

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#6 2009-12-08 00:55:04

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1796
Website

Re: Four-Stair Heating

I also wonder if some degree of blending with “four-star” (as in generals and/or hotels) might be involved. As somebody wrote above, “Sounds fancy!”.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2009-12-08 00:58:53)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#7 2011-05-26 02:06:03

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 955

Re: Four-Stair Heating

Here’s an alternative that would be quite logical if it were applied to a wood stove: forest air. Many of the hits referred to furnaces in holiday trailers, so that might be another link to the outdoors.

4burner stove with oven, forest air furnace, double sink
trailer in Lacombe, Alberta, classifieds

The Ultimate Fish House has everything you need…
Six holes; Hole lights; Forest air furnace; Sleeps three
Minneapolis classifieds

To have heating and cooling ,you should install a gas furnace with central cooling. Forest air heating you can also add a humidifier
Retired heating and cooling man

it comes equipped a with fridge, stove ,microwave, ac and forest air heating .
trailer in Penticton, B.C., classifieds

Note: some dehumidifiers and a car air conditioner do have the “Forest Air” brand.

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