That's the headline for Dalton Ross's new column
The problem, as — spoiler alert — you saw in this episode, is that the show re-uses old puzzles, and some players, before beginning their stint on the show, have made 3D printed copies of these puzzles and practiced. This week, we saw Carson do a complicated puzzle speedily and then heard in the voiceover that he'd done the puzzle a thousand times at home. He also openly celebrates nerd power — uses the word "nerd" to rally the other nerds.
[I]s that really what we want to watch as viewers — someone just putting together a puzzle they already learned how to solve before they even stepped on the beach?
Okay, let me nerd out in my particular lane of nerdery — language usage. I have no problem with Ross writing "before they even stepped on the beach." But I don't like the wording in the headline "before they even step foot on the island."
's an article from a few years back in The Atlantic analyzing whether "step foot" is an error:
It’s true that set foot in is far and away the more common phrase. And thirteen citations that include set foot in are scattered around the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest of which (illustrating the use of the now obsolete and rare word reguerdonment, meaning “reward”) is from 1599. But the version you don’t like, step foot in, is also in the OED, with citations dating back to 1540. According to a note under step, it’s now seen and heard only in the United States.
The question remains whether we ought to consider it a mistake. Citations in the OED include, without demur, many words and phrases widely regarded as incorrect—for instance, baited breath, free reign, hone in, and all ready meaning “already.”...
Language geeks have given the name eggcorns to usages of this kind—“spontaneous reshapings of known expressions” which seem to make sense. (Eggcorn is itself an eggcorn, for acorn.) Whether step foot in is, or originally was, an eggcorn has been hotly but inconclusively debated. However, no one argues that set foot in is anything other than standard English. So step foot in is one of those phrases that we’re probably better off not using even though there’s little reason to object if others use them.
But "we’re probably better off not using" conflates our own word choice and our disapproval of the words other people use. I'm always going to say "set foot" myself, but I will look somewhat less askance at "step foot" from here on out. I mean: the 1500s. That's got to earn some respect.
By the way, this is a usage question I've thought of a lot, because I taught the subject of personal jurisdiction for many years, and in that context, defendants would often argue that they're not subject to jurisdiction because they'd never "set foot" in the state, and every so often you'd see "stepped foot," which stood out like a sore big toe.
ADDED: Is "nerd" in the OED? Yes, but only with an excessively negative definition: "An insignificant, foolish, or socially inept person; a person who is boringly conventional or studious." The oldest appearance in print is:
1951 8 Oct. 28 In Detroit, someone who once would be called a drip or a square is now, regrettably, a nerd.
It came from Detroit!