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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2013-06-20 23:34:47

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2601

stepping foot

A correction of “stepping foot” to “setting foot” came by in a recent NY Times grammar column. :

The singer Ashlee Simpson has a young son named Bronx, and a hard-core punk band from Los Angeles also chose that name before ever stepping foot in the Bronx proper (the members have visited since).

Make it either “setting foot” or “stepping.”

Probably not an eggcorn (not enough sound agreement), but a really, really popular blend perversion of an old idiom. If you can believe the Google numbers, there are many hundreds of thousands of examples on the web of “without stepping foot” (The Bing search engine reports a more modest 15K, but that’s still a lot of confused people.).

The escalation of examples of “without stepping foot” in published sources began to soar in the 1970s. See the Google Ngram. “Without stepping foot” seems to be a blend of “without setting foot” and “step foot on/into” —one wonders if there is some influence from the increased usage of the metaphor “stepped foot on” after the first moon landing.

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



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