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sooner than later

Pet Peeve time!

Recently I’ve heard several people use the phrase “sooner than later,” leaving off the “rather.”

“Well, we decided it would be best to do it sooner than later.”

That says nothing. Every point in time is sooner than later. Eight hundred years from now is sooner than later than 800 years from now.

It’s “sooner RATHER than later” people! ARGH!!!

I’m supposed to feel better now. I don’t.

While I’m on the topic of butchered clichés… A former supervisor of mine at a previous job used to always say, “Let’s be safe then sorry.”

Really? In that order, safe, then sorry? It’s that dastardly absent “rather” screwing with the meaning again.


Friday, October 10th, 2008 at 9:57 amand is filed under Random. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

11 Responses to “sooner than later”

  1. Ben Says:
    October 10th, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Maybe people will get it sooner OR later.

  2. Michael Says:
    October 10th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    I’d be fishing.

  3. IYPopeye Says:
    November 28th, 2010 at 10:49 am

    U R so wrong. Even your analogy is wrong. “than” is comparative, “then” is sequential. No wonder you need someone to boss you around. Sorry to omit the detailed logic of this; was afraid u would overwhelmed.

  4. Troy Says:
    November 30th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    IYPopeye, I think you’re right. Now it could be that I’m confused and completely turned around by the immaculately crafted and perfectly delivered ZING you just laid on me, therefore not thinking straight. Overwhelmed, if you will.

    Let me settle into the revelation that I’ll forever be working under the supervision of a superior due to my inadequate understanding of English grammar, and once the fog clears, maybe I’ll be able to think straight again.

  5. Nadia Says:
    February 1st, 2011 at 12:37 am

    I totally hate that expression ‘sooner than later’ why do ppl use it? . It doesn’t make sense!

  6. Ivory Says:
    March 31st, 2011 at 3:11 am

    Soon than later…

    I feel some ppl use this when they do not want to commit and just want to leave it ambiguous

  7. Big Bad Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I love this! Thank you! I’m such a grammar geek – It just makes me cringe when people use phrases like this. It is such a relief to know someone else feels the same.

    …Then you have people like IYPopeye who have NO idea what they’re saying. “Safe then/than sorry,” is wrong either way unless you say, “Better to be” or “mas vale” or the like. AND you didn’t use an analogy. What is he talking about?

  8. Steven Says:
    August 10th, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Troy was correct; it’s a lazy, mindless bastardization of “sooner *rather* than later.” It means nothing.
    And as to the wiseass who allegedly ‘corrected’ him, it seems you cannot read *or* reason. In his first example, Troy used “than” which is a comparitive, and his comments about that phrase are addressed to that. In his second, “safe then sorry” he used *then*, and his comment addresses that. (That one is also the same bastardization, and is correctly rendered as “safe rather than sorry.” So…go back to sleep, Popeye, and when you awake, try some brain spinach.

  9. Juli Says:
    September 15th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I can’t even take people seriously who can’t speak English correctly…irregardless of anything else they say.

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  11. Troy Says:
    January 14th, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I am leaving that comment as a memorial to the day that spambot died and barfed all over my site.

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