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Oops! What I Meant to Say Was... The Warped Wisdom of Malapropisms

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Oops! What I Meant to Say Was... The Warped Wisdom of Malapropisms
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.37

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    greenz, izum, malaprop, malapropism, mangled, missung, mondegreens, prahp, sportscasters, thou, comedy, original, well-known, mix-up, naked, britain
     content words:    Charles Schultz, Dizzy Dean, York Mets, Yogi Berra, Lady Mondegreen, Star-Spangled Banner, America Land, God Bless America, Irving Berlin


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Oops! What I Meant to Say Was... The Warped Wisdom of Malapropisms
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     Sometimes a funny thing happens when you are trying to say something wise. Your tongue can get ahead of your brain. Your words get jumbled up. You end up saying something that is not so much wisdom as it is comedy.
 
2     Picture this: your team is losing all its games. It's clear that a big part of the problem is quarreling among team mates. "We've got to work together," you tell them. "After all, a horse divided against itself cannot stand."
 
3     Oops! What you meant to say was house, not horse. (A "horse divided" sounds like a messy situation!) What was supposed be wise advice has people snickering. This kind of word mix-up has a name. It's called a malapropism (MAL-uh-prohp-iz-um).
 
4     We got the name from a comedy play written way back in 1775. Mrs. Malaprop, a character in the play, did her best to appear clever and refined. It didn't work, though, because everything she said was slightly skewed.
 
5     In one instance, Mrs. M. describes a person as "the very pineapple of politeness." What she meant was that the man was the pinnacle (very tip-top, the highest level) of polite people. Playgoers loved Mrs. Malaprop and her zany way of putting her foot in her mouth. From that time on, warped wisdom and skewed sayings have been called malapropisms.

Paragraphs 6 to 13:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable



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