Poor vocabulary meant inflammable couch ignited.


There are 8 comments in this article:

  1. 3/2/2009Jim Cartwright says:

    aren’t most couches flammable? let alone are most couches labeled ethier or?

  2. 3/2/2009Pete says:

    Oh man, you totally would have lit your couch on fire.

    Read this (from http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/flammable-versus-inflammable.aspx )

    “Flammable” and “inflammable” mean the same thing; they both mean “easy to burn.” “Inflammable” is the original word, but then in the 1920s, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, the National Fire Protection Association started encouraging people to use the word “flammable” instead because they were worried people could mistakenly think “inflammable” meant “not flammable.” They saw it as a safety issue. Academics were inflamed (get it?) because they didn’t appreciate the Fire Protection Association messing with the language and promoting “corrupt” words. Perhaps they thought dumb people should die a firey death if they went around holding matches to inflammable objects. Regardless, linguists have groused about “flammable” in usage books ever since.

  3. 3/3/2009Jerb says:

    I thought this was in reference to flame “retard”ent materials used for couches and “poor vocabulary” indicated a mentally retarded person… alas, it is I who uses the “inflammatory” language …

  4. 3/3/2009Dawson says:


  5. 3/5/2009Eric Shaw says:

    Good story,

    Also hilarious that the Grammar Girl article misspells ‘fiery’ as ‘firey’. I suppose it could be a simple typo, but one would expect better proof reading from such a site.

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