strum up support

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Sun Feb 17 13:39:40 UTC 2008

Why incompetents? Wouldn't it be people with their dentures out who
gummed up support?


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       "David A. Daniel" <dad at POKERWIZ.COM>
>Subject:      Re: strum up support
>Drum up also makes sense, whereas strum up does not. Everyone from military
>recruiters to snake oil salesmen has been drawing crowds for centuries by
>running around town beating on drums. That's why the expression "to drum up"
>has been around for a couple centuries at least and why "strum up" is no
>more than a (perhaps oft-repeated) malaprop, or a phrase used to comedic
>effect referring to rock bands and such. On the other hand, I suppose you
>could imagine a minstrel walking about, strumming up support; or a group of
>porn stars cumming up support; or a group of idiots dumbing up support; or a
>group of incompetents gumming up support; or an a cappella choir group
>humming up support; or...
>-----Original Message-----
>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
>Dennis Preston
>Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2008 9:20 PM
>You must be an anarchist! "Drum up" is traditional, preferred,
>correct. Not reason enough!
>>I was curious what the preferred version might be, so I found the entry
>>at, where it says
>>that "drum up" is considered correct.
>>I don't think that's enough to make me stop using "strum up," though. Is
>>there a specific reason why strum up support is dispreferred? It's still
>>using a musical instrument and it sounds better since it employs
>>Andrea Morrow wrote:
>>>   >From a CNN article today on Chelsea Clinton's role in the
>>>presidential campaign:
>>>   Chelsea Clinton will spend three days there to strum up last-minute
>>>   votes before the state's Tuesday caucuses, said a source from her
>>>   mother's campaign.
>>>   A quick google search for "strum up support" turns up over a million
>>>   hits, but most are obvious plays on words (a rock musician strums up
>>>   support for his show, etc.)
>>>   I see this usage is already in the eggcorn database, but it's the
>>>   first time I've seen it, and it seemed worth mentioning.
>>The American Dialect Society -
>Dennis R. Preston
>University Distinguished Professor
>Department of English
>Morrill Hall 15-C
>Michigan State University
>East Lansing, MI 48864 USA
>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society -

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