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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2011-07-05 18:43:28

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2129

please << pleas

This forum has not yet noted the obvious and eggcornical substitution of “please” for “pleas.” A plea is, like the interjection “please,” a request for help. When “plea” is plural, its sound is identical (in my speech, at least) to “please.”

This fruit is hanging so low that it’s scraping the ground. Do you want to give me the 2011 SNOT award now, or are you going to make me wait until the end of the year?

Examples all over the web. Here are three of them:

Software forum: “if anyone responds to my please for help….please write”

Gaming forum: “Ignore my please for help on #74”

Web fiction on a blog: “Angry at the government and churches that ignored my please for help, even angry at God for bringing Martha and me out here.”

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#2 2011-07-05 19:17:45

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1762
Website

Re: please << pleas

Pure SNOT this one. Excellent find! Like you, I’m amazed none of us had reported it.


*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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#3 2011-07-05 23:04:53

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

Re: please << pleas

I’m always pretty skeptical about exact homophones as eggcorns, especially when the reshaping takes the form of a very common word – as it does here. I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of instances of “please” for “pleas” are misspellings; it’s absolutely inevitable.

But the semantic overlap here is more interesting than in most such cases, so I started wondering whether there were instances of “please” being treated as a singular noun, which would provide more evidence that people were really thinking of the word “please.” And in fact there are – including one from the British Telegraph newspaper, amazingly enough. Examples:

Passers-by recall seeing her face staring through the window in what may have been a please for help, according to senior detectives.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ … -days.html

I am new to CreativeCOW.net and (predictably) my first post is a please for help…
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/24/901705

I would pray with your friend, and I would make each petition a please for help in this regard.
http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=7902608

So is it a flounder or a rare monosyllabic eggcorn? The spelling situation makes that pretty darn hard to answer.

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#4 2011-07-06 03:32:34

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2129

Re: please << pleas

So is it a flounder[?]

I would say not. “Pleas” and “please” don’t substitute (easily) for each other in all contexts, only in restricted phrasings. I suspect that all instances of “Court of Common Please” are mispellings, for example. And the verb “plea” seems unlikely to attract “please” (e.g. “he please for mercy”).

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#5 2011-07-06 04:40:15

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

Re: please << pleas

“Pleas” and “please” don’t substitute (easily) for each other in all contexts, only in restricted phrasings.

That might well be true; my guess would be the same. But the problem is that “please” is awkward in any substitution—this is a really interesting find precisely because it’s not a perfectly formed eggcorn—but people really do seem to be using it. And the spelling problem means that all the evidence beyond that is necessarily ambiguous. I don’t see a persuasive way of disambiguating the situation. And that’s why I shy away from homophonous reshapings: sooner or later the actual evidence runs out and eggcornicity comes down to what anyone wants to believe.

And the verb “plea” seems unlikely to attract “please” (e.g. “he please for mercy”).

Does the verbal form of the acorn need to work if you’re making an argument about the nominal form? And:

How he pleased for mercy: “No…Willard…don’t…”
http://smirkingchimp.com/news/12683

Yeah—I know: the usual s/d problem. But again, interpretation is down to what you want to believe. And there’s also the more interesting

Jack pleases for mercy and surrender, but as Kayako is about to kill him, Donnie takes the shotgun and blowns Jack’s body to pieces, killing him.
http://entertainment.wikia.com/wiki/The_Grudge_6

This may just be a WTFT (like “blowns”). Or the writer may think the verb “please” can be used for the verb “plea.” You decide.

Last edited by patschwieterman (2011-07-06 05:14:42)

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