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He stole himself

December 11, 2019

Here’s Matthew Syed in today’s Times: ‘When Sir Alex Ferguson won a record ninth Premier League trophy in 2007, he allowed himself a few minutes of celebration, but then stole himself for the next challenge.’

Say what? He stole himself? How did that get in there? What does it mean? How could he have stolen himself?

It means, of course, that he steeled himself. Now, the past tense of the homonym steal is indeed stole. But the past tense of steel is not. It’s a regular past tense ending in -ed. A bizarre confusion by whoever made this mistake – and it might not have been Syed, of course, but a hyper-correcting sub.

From → Uncategorized

  1. Simon Carter permalink

    Sounds like the automated text that appears on some news programmes which makes some bizarre substitutions / guesses. Maybe there was no human intervention at all!

  2. Ah – you could be right.

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