Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: sewn up.

sewn up. “Sewn up” (= [of an outcome] made certain) is sometimes mistakenly written *"sown up," as if the metaphor had to do with sowing (as opposed to sewing) — e.g.: o “It seems that the powerful had the game sown [read ‘sewn’] up from the start.” James Gill, “Justice for Those Who Can Pay,” Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 26 Feb. 1999, at B7. o “Gallegos aide and LaPuente Mayor Edward Chavez . . . has sown [read ‘sewn’] up endorsements from his boss and others in the Legislature’s Latino caucus.” Jean Merl, “Finish Line Close in Some Districts,” L.A. Times, 2 Mar. 2000, at B1. o “MasTec has all but sown [read ‘sewn’] up BellSouth as a client with its master service agreement.” John T. Fakler, “Bright Look for MasTec Questioned,” S. Fla. Bus. J., 21 July 2000, at 1. Interestingly, the mistake occurs much more frequently in British English than in American — e.g.: “No formal deal has yet been tabled but there is speculation that the deal could be sown [read ‘sewn’] up in the next couple of days.” Chris Morley, “Refuge from the Tax Man,” Evening Mail, 29 Sept. 2000, at 37. Language-Change Index — “sown” misused for “sewn”: Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “This, then, is the plastic part of literature: to embody character, thought, or emotion in some act or attitude that shall be remarkably striking to the mind’s eye. This is the highest and hardest thing to do in words; the thing which, once accomplished, equally delights the schoolboy and the sage, and makes, in its own right, the quality of epics.” Robert Louis Stevenson, Learning to Write 51 (1888; repr. 1920).
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