Language abuse: Goldwynisms

Posted: February 5, 2019 in Words
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sam Goldwyn, legendary movie producer, was known for more than just his movies.  He was also know for his mangling of English, as shown by a few of the examples from Anguished English.  Ready?  Roll ’em.

A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

I’ll give you a definite maybe.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.

I never like you and I always will.

When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.

Let’s have some new clichés.

A bachelor’s life is no life for a single man.

Our comedies are not to be laughed at.

I never put on a pair of shoes until I’ve worn them five years.

I may not always be right, but I’m never wrong.



  1. we agree for that written verbal contracts… absolutely ;O)))

  2. happyface313 says:

    😀 Hehehe! I like the first one!

    However, it used to be common in my home town Hamburg (Germany) that a hand shake was as good as a written contract. A friend of mine started to work for a famous Hamburg family some 25 years ago and all he got was a hand shake. He was kind of confused and asked for something in writing. What he received was a one-liner stating he was employed as verbally agreed. Loved that.

    Too bad that this quality of keeping your promises kept ist going down the drain and that even paper often isn’t worth the ink.

    A very HAPPY day to you, dear Janet!
    Claudia 🙂

    • What a great story, Claudia! You’re unfortunately right about the lack of keeping promises these days, verbal or written. At the shop where I work part time, we have people who just don’t show up for work one day and have quit, not even giving two weeks notice. That really causes a problem for the other employees and the person who does the scheduling as well as being unprofessional.

      I hope you’re enjoying your Tuesday.


  3. Good morning Janet,

    I don’t know if it’s my computer or what, but lately when I click on the title, i.e., Language abuse: Goldwynisms, on your emails, the link is not taking me to the page.

    I click on your sustainabilitea link which brings me to your author archive page.

    Maybe it’s just my computer at the moment that’s acting funny for your last several emails – but I thought I’d let you know, so you could check it out for yourself, if in fact you need to change the HTML for the link.


    PS You know I love language abuse. It’s so much safer than other forms of abuse – although it too can be the cause of much destruction.

    Although I believe there is a difference between language abuse and abusive language.

    Let me know what you find out. Not about abusive language or language abuse, but your title link.

    • Hi, Randy. Thanks for letting me know, but I have no idea about what you’re experiencing. Did you have the same problem today?

      I know what you mean about language and I concur. 🙂


  4. “Our comedies are not to be laughed at!” Priceless! Another fun set of language gaffes Janet.

  5. Dan Antion says:

    Some of these are classics. Thanks for sharing them.

  6. While hilariously misinformed, these statements make my brain hurt. I pity his former English teachers!

  7. Thanks for the chuckles, Janet. 🤣

  8. dweezer19 says:

    I think maybe sarcastic irony but not accidental ignorance.

  9. Prior... says:

    These are really fun – and I wonder how many are in the book?? And oxymorons come to mind – like I just had jumbo shrimp – ha

  10. de Wets Wild says:

    I must admit I am also fed-up with all the old cliches – new ones would be nice! 😀 😀 😀

  11. He would have made a great sidekick for Yogi Berra.

  12. I just love reading this! 😀

  13. Joanne Sisco says:

    A “definite maybe” is one of my favourite expressions. Now I know its origin 😆