What did you think it meant?

What did the writer for yahoo.com think “comes a calling” meant? Is it the kind of calling that compels one to enter a life of monastic asceticism? Is it the cry of a female cat in heat?

fp a calling

Or is it just the result of someone trying to use a quaint expression, without regard for its actual meaning or spelling? The expression is “come a-calling.” And according to the American Heritage Dictionary, “prefixing a- to verb forms ending in -ing… was once fairly common in vernacular U.S. speech, particularly in the highland areas of the South and in the Southwest. …Eventually a- disappeared from many dialects, including Standard English in the United States and Great Britain, although it is still retained today in some isolated dialect areas, particularly among older speakers.”

Ah, Yahoo!. Ever in the forefront of modern American English.


One Response to “What did you think it meant?”

  1. jerry y Says:

    Yahoo corrected this. So now they are just old-fashioned and unable to spell, they are just old-fashioned!

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