My Mother-in-Law, Ms. Malaprop

My mother-in-law was the epitome of the Malaprop user. She was an Italian lady, straight from the old country. She was verbal, loud, animated, and wonderful. She was the best grandmother my children could ever have had. But, back to her use of language, which was both confusing and delightful. Once she excitedly reported a strange phenomenon. According to her, “I saw three twins today. I think they were triplets.” Another instance of her confusing word choice occurred when she told me she was a great admirer of Marlo Brandon. I never probed her to learn whether that was Marlon Brando or Marlo Thomas. It didn’t matter. After my father-in-law died, “Mama” eventually ended up as our responsibility and moved into our neighborhood. Just after she moved down, I took her over to meet friends of ours who lived nearby and would be good neighbors to her. As we went into the house, the friend’s dog, Patsy, came into the room, sniffed at my mother-in-law, sat down on the floor and began to scratch and lick herself. Our hostess was embarrassed as the dog continued to clean her privates while we tried to get acquainted. Finally, the hostess said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with Patsy. She never scratches like this” to which my mother-in-law replied: “Don’t worry. It’s only human for dogs to scratch.”


About bobosbest

I am an 80-year-old retired English teacher whose writing goals are fulfilled by publishing these blogs. I have a wonderful married partner, Dimitris Tsitsiras, who is from Greece. Life is good and still an adventure.
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2 Responses to My Mother-in-Law, Ms. Malaprop

  1. EIDO DIGATI says:

    Only an Italian can understand your mother in law confusion about the twins.In fact, in Italian, to say twins we say what in English literally translates” 2 twins”:2 gemelli , if they are 3,we say” 3 twins” 3 gemelli: not meaning that they are 4 or 6,but always indicating the number of oersons that are in the group. It is a conceptual thing that is completely different between the English and the Italian language. . Today your post is a strange post,that I woudn’t have written, cause it is not a good thing making fun of a foreigner expressing himself wrongly with somewhat “hilarious” (?) results. Acting in defense of the poor lady I can conclude that ,at least she spoke some English,do you speak any Italian?? lol .. Was I bothered because I am Italian or did you hit,with absolutely no bad intention,a tricky subject?? A big hug from your friend Eido

    • bobosbest says:

      Please note that I said she was the best grandmother my children could have had. Her malapropos were charming, and my writing about her was to compliment her, not criticize. Thanks for your comment, my friend.

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