A question for the masses…

Well, a question for the 5 (okay, 6) people who regularly read my blog…

any lurkers out there, chime in–I’m curious about this.

I found out today I’ve been “grammatically incorrect” my whole life. Apparently a phrase I’ve grown up saying (no, I’m not talking about “fixin’ to” which I rarely ever say anymore) is a colloquialism and that it is incorrect.

Funny thing is, I’ve never, ever, in my entire 37 years heard the “correct phrase” until today.

So, I’m curious. Which way do you say it?

I broke the vase on accident.

I broke the vase by accident.

I’m seriously curious about this. So chime in…please.

27 thoughts on “A question for the masses…

  1. dude. I know. that’s why I’m asking. I wanna know how folks say it…cuz I’m thinking “on accident” is a very regional thing and my theory is that only northerners (even transplants like yo’self) say “by accident” and that midwesterners and southerners are “on accidnet”. This stemmed from a conversation on a writer’s loop I’m on and it was split between the two…and the split seemed pretty regional.It’s just like New Yorkers pronouncing Housten “Howsten” and our own Mississippi folks pronouncing Lafayette La-FAY-etteI’m not going to change how I say it because “by accident” sounds all kinds of wrong to my ears. But I’m curious if I’m the only one…LOL

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  2. Born and bred in Illinois, I say “On Accident.” At least, I did when I was growing up. Now I just blame it on someone else. :)And since you mentioned the whole Houston thing… I live in Houston County now, and here in Georgia, they call it “house-ton”, so I get confused when I go to Texas.

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  3. Family is Canadian by way of Missouri and France and I was going to answer and suddenly I can’t remember how I say it. Ack! Think it was always said: It was an accident. Pre-coffee confusion is making this more difficult than it should. LOLThanks, Mel. 😀

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  4. just as an aside, growing up in the late, lamented, rotten big apple, we referred to the big east-west thoroughfare downtown as House-ton Street, but we refer to H-you-ston Tejas….so there’s that.As you can see, I’m very busy this day not writing.

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  5. A girl I work with who is originally from Louisville but has been in MS for a long time now says that she would say “on accident”. But then, she also said “but remember I am from Louisville where cars are crunk and school ain’t fun : )” LOLMy other co-worker from Louisiana also says “on accident”. Okay, I find this fascinating.

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  6. this is Susan… though i know “by accident” is correct, I think I have always said “on accident”. You can do something “on purpose” why not “on accident”?

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  7. Well I’ve never heard ‘on accident’ before!I would say by accident-altho I’d probably say “I accidentally broke the vase-sorry about that!”But then what do I know? I’m totally foreign-I say things like ‘wonky’ and toemarto and yoggurt etc etc

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  8. I’m a midwestern gal, now in the pacific northwest–and have never heard “on accident.” I’ve heard “by accident” many times.But, every family or region has their own idioms. I like Kate’s Brit terms. 🙂 Our crazy family always said, “He has the world by the ass on a downhill pull.” Is that common? LOL.

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  9. more than likely, I would say “accidentally” as well, Lucy. LOLApparently, the fishdog also says “by accident”. But then, why would I listen to him when he says exspecially all the time?

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  10. last one:I asked both the Brit and the Scot staying with me this week.Simon (the Brit) said “on accident” Grant (the Scot) said “by accident”so, basically, after my informal poll…I would say, it depends on how your parents said it. LOL ps: I asked my oldest what he says, and he chose “on accident”. Hmmmm. who’s the more important parent now??? LOL

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  11. By accident. Actually, I’m more likely to say “accidently” as in “I broke that accidently” rather than “I broke that by accident”.Hmmm. Odd because I don’t suffer adverbs to live in my writing.

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  12. Weighing in from the Commonwealth,BY Accident. Everyone on my family/friend circle say it. Never knew there was another way.What a wonderful post and question!

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  13. When I first read this I had to think about it a long time and then posted the “on accident” if only given those options. Well, I just sent out an email to someone saying I’d found something out “quite by accident” – is that the same thing and if so, I may need to change my previous answer (except I still say I would say I had accidentally broken it instead of by or on).

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  14. I’ve never lived below the Mason Dixon line and I say “by accident.” Of course I’m already starting to worry about moving to New York where I’ll have to wait “on line” instead of “in line.”

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