There’s No Such Thing as a Honing Pigeon. Two Common Mistakes

Today I want to mention two mistakes that people make all the time. In fact, the mistakes are so common that I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re no longer considered mistakes in a generation or two.

But for now, they’re wrong and should be avoided in writing.

There’s no such thing as a honing pigeon

Hone = Sharpen

Home = Move toward a goal

When you want to zero in on something, or get closer to it, or maybe even focus on it, you want to “home in” on it.

Like a homing device.

To “hone” something means to sharpen it. You hone a knife. You hone your skills. But you don’t “hone in” on things.

Or, at least, I don’t. But like I said, in twenty to fifty years, this post (while being considered a work of genius) will be out of date.

Add flesh, don’t flush.

When you’ve got a general idea of something, but want more information, then you need to flesh out the details. In essence, you’re adding flesh to the bare bones.

When there are snakes hiding in the bush, you may need to flush them out. Send in the smoke bombs (or whatever).

The first adds something while the second removes something. The first thickens something, while the second cleans something.

There’s almost never a time in general business conversation or writing to use “flush.” People do have a need to flesh out the skeletal plan they’ve built. They’re fleshing out the back-of-the-napkin ideas.

I understand how the mistake happens. People think of ideas in hiding. Ideas that are there, but are sort of hidden in the recesses of the mind and need to be flushed out. But the original metaphor is about putting meat on the bones.

Neither of these mistakes will get you laughed at for ignorance, because both are widespread throughout the business world. But if you want to get it right, you know how.

Has anyone else heard these mistakes? Are they as common as I think?

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