A hot water heater. Who heats hot water? A hot cup of coffee.
Here again the English language gets us in hot water. Who cares if the cup is hot? Surely we mean a cup of hot coffee.
Aren’t those little treats really doughnut balls ? The holes are what’s left in the original doughnut. And if a candy cane is shaped like a cane, why isn’t a doughnut shaped like a nut?
I want to have my cake and eat it too.
Shouldn’t this timeworn be: I want to eat my cake and have it too? Isn’t the logical sequence that one hopes to eat the cake and then still possess it?
A one-night stand.
So who’s standing? Similarly,to sleep with someone
The first century B.C.
These hundred years occurred much longer ago than people imagined. What we call the first century B.C. was, in fact the last century B.C.
Daylight saving time.
Not a single second of daylight is saved by this ploy.
The announcement was made by a nameless official.
Just about everyone has a name, even officials. Surely what is meant is:
The announcement was made by an unnamed official.
Preplan, preboard, preheat, and prerecord.
Aren’t people who do this simply planning, boarding, heating, and recording? Who needs the pre-tentious prefix?
Put on your shoes and socks.
This is an exceedingly difficult maneuver. Most of us put on our socks first, then our shoes.
The bus goes back and forth between the terminal and the airport.
Again we find mass confusion about the order of events. You have to go forth before you can go back.
I got caught in one of the biggest traffic bottlenecks of the year.
The bigger the bottleneck, the more freely the contents of the bottle flow through it. To be true to the metaphor, we should say: I got caught in one of the smallest traffic bottlenecks of the year.
Crazy English: the Ultimate Joy Ride Through Our Language, Richard Lederer (Pocket Books, 1989)