Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
“Fair, wear and tear” turns up in contracts sometimes.
It’s meant to be:
“Fair wear and tear” (without the comma).
That is, the “fair” is meant to be an adjective which modifies “wear and tear”. In the eggcorn version, “fair” is turned into another noun in a list. I think this is particularly tempting because of the rhyme pattern.
An interesting expression which is obviously not always clearly understood – I came across these variants:
it is called “fair ware and tear”. note the word FAIR. VCAT (or the equivalent in your state) will deal with what is “fair”. ...
phorums.com.au/archive/index.php/t-171920.html – 29k – Cached
well i am sure that the pull cord in toilet can be class as fair where and tear. your landlord should provide you with invoices and copies of receipts for …
www.letlink.co.uk/forum/index.php?actio … t;start=40 – 27k – Supplemental Result – Cached
Extended guarantees on specific products exclude fair weather and tear. All returns must be authorized prior to return. It is recommended that you obtain a …
www.dssafety.co.uk/cgi-bin/ds.cgi?usr=0&page=terms.html – 20k – Cached
But is it an eggcorn?
If the user was accidentally employing the word ‘fair’ as a noun and managed to tease some alternative imagery from it then I think it would be an eggcorn. As an image it doesn’t work for me, though I have tried. I fear it may be just a typo.
I suspect that people are treating “fair” (or in their minds, “fare”, supported by the times that it is spelt like this, as mentioned in your post) as the verb “to be in a certain condition due to undergoing an experience”, i.e. to fare well / badly. Therefore the Eggcorned phrase is “fare, wear and tear” – “such a condition”, wear and tear.
I got only 28 ghits for fare, wear and tear. (If the writer means for this to be a series of three nouns, the comma is required.) The comma was absent (Google ignores it) in all but one of those hits (to find this one quickly, you have to search the page for “fare,”), and in that case, it was clear that the juxtaposition of fare with wear and tear was not meant to convey “fair wear and tear”:
costing more in gasoline, bus fare, wear and tear on an automobile, etc.
So no, this does not seem to be an eggcorn. Even when all three words in the phrase are replaced with homophones—fare ware and tare (which produces a modest 4 ghits)—it’s pretty clear that no new imagery is involved, in spite of the significantly different meaning for each homophone:
At the end of her contract with Sunsail she will go through an extensive refit that will take care of all items that exceed fare ware and tare. (From an ad on yachtworld.com)
After time electro/mechanical components stop functioning through fare ware and tare hence the need to backup data. (From a tip at computing.net)
The others is gone with fare ware and tare, and i can’t do nothink. (From One of ‘Us’, an 1882 novel by Edmund Randolph, Jr.)
Take time to look at every possible short comming of the rig in practical long turm use ,normal fare ware and tare or serious defect (From a request for advice on rv.net)
Last edited by huevomaiztro (2007-07-09 15:54:32)