Life as I know it… plus commentary

Grammar lesson 2

with 31 comments

Oh my gosh people…

When you relied on a morsel to get you to the main event, it’s “tied us over” not “tide us over”.


Written by arnold

January 15, 2009 at 8:59 am

Posted in Culture

31 Responses

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  1. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


    January 15, 2009 at 10:22 am

  2. Your authoritative tone notwithstanding, I think you’ve got this one wrong. I’m pretty sure it’s “tide us over.” According to your version, would you say in the future tense, “That will tie me over?”

    And where in the world do we find the definitive answer to this important question?

    the kyle

    January 15, 2009 at 10:51 am

  3. I’m not sure about this one, but I had someone tell me I would be treated with the “upmost” professionalism.

    There’s another one I hear a lot, but I’m woozy from cough medicine right now, so I can’t recall it. I’ll chime in when I remember.

    Peggy C

    January 15, 2009 at 11:13 am

  4. This person, like me, says the word “tide” makes no sense here.

    As far as I know, the word tide is a noun or a really good laundry detergent and not a verb.

    This person makes a reference to “tiding”, when sailors would float with the tide until the wind came.

    Let’s face it though, these people are both British and don’t know much about English (the American kind).


    January 15, 2009 at 11:46 am

  5. I think you got it wrong Arney.The transitive sense of the verb “tide” means to cause to float with or as if with the tide.

    Johnny Peepers

    January 15, 2009 at 11:48 am

  6. why don’t we just forget it because its a dumb phrase and use “hold.”

    Yes, that held me over
    Yes, that is what is holding me together
    Yes, that will hold me over

    otherwise, if you say tie or tide really fast no one will no the difference…until you get into the different tenses…at least…maybe


    January 15, 2009 at 11:53 am

  7. I forgot to post this paragraph from one of the above links:

    As is the norm with the BBC’s audience, the ‘tied over’ misspelling produced a much more impassioned response than the chaos in the world’s financial system. It may well have been merely a typo – ‘e’ and ‘d’ are next to each other on QWERTY keyboards after all. The correct spelling is of course ‘tide over’. On reflection, ‘tide over’ doesn’t seem any more intuitive than ‘tied over’; so what is the origin of the phrase?

    Sound a little familiar? LOL


    January 15, 2009 at 11:56 am

  8. ps…for Kyle, because these are obviously the most trustworthy sources of information:


    January 15, 2009 at 12:08 pm

  9. Johnny’s got it right (as did Arnold’s BBC post). As hard as it is to imagine, there is a secondary meaning of a word that Arnold didn’t know about. Perhaps our magnanimous host will admit his mistake and apologize to the “people” to whom this post was addressed…

    I’m ancy [sic] for Arnold’s apologetic reply.

    And for the really bored/curious, also see:

    the kyle

    January 15, 2009 at 12:23 pm

  10. and the most definitive source:


    January 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm

  11. I know Kyle is sick for my reply, but here’s what I have to say:

    Oh big deal. I think scientists call this “appeal to authority”.

    I can post links too.

    Look here.

    Here are 1100 people who all say “tied us over”.


    January 15, 2009 at 12:41 pm

  12. I would bet for more then 3/4 of the 1,100 people, the tried to say tide but simply failed at spelling. That’s an A for grammer and an F for spelling.


    January 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm

  13. Oh heck! Just tie one on to tie you over and no one will give a care! 😉


    January 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm

  14. Here’s the proof. Say it out loud and you’ll know I’m right.

    Right: Oh good. Cheese. This will tie me over until dinner.

    Wrong ass: Oh good. Cheese. This will tide me over until dinner.

    I bet if you said it out loud you felt like a hillbilly at a formal dinner.


    January 15, 2009 at 12:53 pm

  15. While we both know grammar is not your forte, your creative and dexterous defense of false notions, complete with flawed appeals to vague logical fallacies (apparently used by “scientists”), is certainly a trademark skill that you have refined to an art.

    And fortunately for us, your faithful readers, the latter is far more entertaining than the former.

    the kyle

    January 15, 2009 at 7:01 pm

  16. Actually, grammar IS my forte. Typing is not, but that’s why we have admin assistants.

    I’ll concede that “tide me over” has become the norm after years of misuse. Just like “literally” no longer means literally but instead means an exaggerated ,metaphor. Nowadays, when someone says “literally” we know they don’t mean literally. No one is literal any more. Literally has come to mean practically. It’s true. Words change. And anyone who says differently is just contrary.


    January 15, 2009 at 8:33 pm

  17. I knew you wouldn’t disappoint. Very clever recantation: back in the good old days, when the English language was pristine, people said it my way, but now the unwashed masses have gotten lazy and immoral. They gamble; they disrespect their elders; they’ve corrupted the true language by saying things like “literally.” (Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to back up any of your assertions.)

    Though the concession wandered a little off topic, I’m glad to have this issue cleared up because now I don’t have to go to the trouble of posting the entry for “tide over” from Miriam-Webster online (which, by the way, dates the phrase to 1821, apparently meaning these good old days were quite a while ago).

    the kyle

    January 15, 2009 at 9:01 pm

  18. I saw that. Wasn’t it definition #15?


    January 15, 2009 at 11:35 pm

  19. Then they have stupid people at the online Webster site! IT’S TIED US OVER, FOR GOODNESS SAKES!


    January 16, 2009 at 11:29 am

  20. This is literally the longest string of comments I have ever seen in ratio to the number of words written in the original post…in’it crazy how the language changes and people get lazy?


    January 16, 2009 at 11:29 am

  21. Napkin: It was the first four words of Arnold’s post that did it. I wouldn’t have said anything if it weren’t for those. Sooo condescending. 🙂

    Kim: Is it “for goodness sakes?” Seems like “for goodness’ sake” would make more sense… 🙂

    the kyle

    January 16, 2009 at 11:57 am

  22. One day I aspire to write a blog post that this many people comment on so frequently. And it will be full of witty banter, and it will be full of questionable grammer, and it will be full of spelling blunders, and it will be full of run on sentences, and it will be free from magnanimous banter. There will come a day, I am sure of it.


    January 16, 2009 at 12:12 pm

  23. Wrong again Kyle-o. Oddly you’re attempting to do something poetic which is normally beyond your demesne. We aren’t using personification here and creating a possessive situation. It’s not for Godness’s sake. (S added for the example… I know it should just be an apostrophe). The expression is a linguistic shorthand for “for the sake of goodness”.


    January 16, 2009 at 12:29 pm

  24. I may have to side with Kyle here and say that goodness is clearly the person they are talking about, and it is for her sake (yes, she is a women).


    January 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm

  25. Here I was just having a little fun with Kim, but since you’ve decided to be so contrary…

    Sake always belongs to something. The phrase probably originated with “for God’s sake” in which case the “sake” belongs to God — hence the possessive apostrophe with God (= God’s). I don’t know why it would be any different with goodness. Maybe you do, and maybe you have this inborn knowledge of how the phrase has morphed over time (apparently from a meaningful phrase “goodness’ sake” to a nonsense variation “goodness sakes”). Unlike the last one, I could be mistaken on this one. But as far as I know “sakes” is not a word, unless you mean multiple Japanese alcoholic beverages.

    You can try to explain it again if you want, but we can probably just let it go.

    the kyle

    January 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm

  26. Maybe there are multiple goodnesses, so it’s plural sakes? “For goodnesses’ sakes! Would you look at the time?”

    Peggy C

    January 16, 2009 at 6:38 pm

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  28. I found this string in an attempt to check whether I should use “tide us over” or “tie us over”. I have to admit, it’s nice to see I’m not the only person obsessed with grammar and spelling. To be honest, your exchanges got me laughing so hard, I no longer *care* whether its “tide”, “tie” or even “tied”.
    Thanks for helping me finish my day at work with a chuckle. I think I’ll go with Napkin on this one and just use “hold”.


    September 30, 2009 at 5:39 pm

  29. Glad you enjoyed our exchange Jeff… that’s pretty much how my friends and I talk all the time.


    October 3, 2009 at 1:53 pm

  30. While it seems logical in modern English that it would correctly be “tied us over,” it’s not. Merriam-Webster lists “tide over” as correct, and elsewhere I’ve read that it originates with nautical terms, as many of our idioms do. Originally it referred to the practice of floating with the tide in the absence of wind to fill a ship’s sails, because making slow headway was better than none. The adoption of the phrase to mean coping with what you have is pretty logical, when you think about it.


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