Thursday, July 10, 2014

bail/bale: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Thursday, July 10, 2014

You bail the boat and bale the hay.

In the expression “bail out,” meaning to abandon a position or situation, it is nonstandard in America to use “bale,” though that spelling is widely accepted in the UK. The metaphor in the US is to compare oneself when jumping out of a plane to a bucket of water being tossed out of a boat, though that is probably not the origin of the phrase.

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