DR. ENGLISH: Expressions That Have Gotten Twisted About 

The good doctor has written about this issue before, with little effect. Now the good doctor is getting angry and may be ready to start making unrequested house calls. The topic: Expressions that have gotten twisted about, like the one that suggests we should hone in on one issue or another. But people do not hone in; they (as trained pigeons) home in. Hone in is just plain wrong.

People also continue to flesh out when they mean to flush out and vice versa. When one fleshes out, one (metaphorically) adds flesh to the bones, or words and sentences to an outline. When one flushes out, one gives exposure to something otherwise hidden, like a pheasant. Similarly, people confuse plan on and plan to. “I plan on going” actually means “I plan to go,” and professionals should express it as such. Plan on identifies the factors used to establish a plan; e.g., “When developing my system to win the state lottery, I plan on the frequency of sun spots. I haven’t won yet, but I plan to.”

Next, first right of refusal. Nope. What’s a “first right”? The real expression is right of first refusal, something usually gained by contract and meaning that party A is given the first option to refuse (or accept) a deal.

And if you want to debate any of this, you do not have another thing coming; you have another think coming.