Mother earth. Mother ships. Mother of all spelling confusions.
Okay, maybe, it’s not the biggest of errors, but do you know whether to write “mother load” vs. “mother lode”?
I get the confusion. It’s not just a lot. It’s a massive amount. It’s the mother of all quantities. A “load” makes sense. But the problem is that this is not the spelling of this phrase.
Ooh, I feel you cringing, but it’s true.
The “lode” of “mother lode” is spelled l-o-d-e.
It was a phrase first used in 1863 in reference to mining. The place where the largest amount of gold could be found was called the “mother lode,” because a “lode” (yes, l-o-d-e) is a vein of a mineral within the earth. When the ’49ers went to California (I’m talking about the gold rush here, not the football team), they were looking for lodes of gold. Lodes, l-o-d-e-s. Of course, they were also looking for loads, l-o-a-d-s, as in lots, but that’s beside the point.
Is your mother going to wash your mouth out with soap for a “mother load” vs. “mother lode” typo? Hopefully not. Is she going to wash your messy, inky fingers? Maybe.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for more writing tips. A mother lode of them. But you don’t have to dig through dirt and craggy rocks to unearth them. I’ve been sharing my language notes and writing tips pretty much weekly since the fall of 2012, but you know what? I’m nowhere close to done. Thanks for that, confusing English language. Thanks oh-so-much for that.
Onward! Who’s with me?
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