June 7, 2004


An anonymous comment points out that the correct expression is "beck and call" not beckonned call.

True Dat.

Google Hits:
"Beck and Call" = 716,000
"Beckoned Call" = 73,400
"Beckonned Call" = 32

Could I have been more wrong?

Best part is, I distinctly remember changing my opinion about what the correct phrase was when I was in my teens. Julia Roberts as Pretty Woman says, "I'd love to be your beckonned call girl..." Or, at least that's what I decided she said, and I decided she was right (how could a streetwalker who hooked herself up with a penthouse-dweller be anything but?). I rationalized it to myself by roughly this logic:

1. You beckon someone--you don't beck them.
2. Beckon can also function as a noun.
3. Beck sounds silly.
4. A beckoned call is a call that is requested and wanted, which seemed to fit with the common usage.
4. So, beck must not be a real word, and the phrase must be "beckoned call."

You will note that nowhere in this teenage linguistic analysis did I bother with the dictionary. I wonder how many other phrases like this lurk in my brain, I'm sure they're all dying for the chance to make a splash.

No comments: