Watching the Arab uprisings these days leaves me with a smile on my face and a pit in my stomach. The smile comes from witnessing a whole swath of humanity losing its fear and regaining its dignity. The pit comes from a rising worry that the Arab Spring may have been both inevitable and too late. If you are not feeling both these impulses, you’re not paying attention.And you're not paying attention to your usage, Mr. Friedman. The correct expression refers not to an ingested foreign object causing gastric distress, but to a bad feeling "in the pit of one's stomach." Paul Brians:
Just as you can love someone from the bottom of your heart, you can also experience a sensation of dread in the pit (bottom) of your stomach. I don’t know whether people who mangle this common expression into “pit in my stomach” envision an ulcer, an irritating peach pit they’ve swallowed or are thinking of the pyloric sphincter; but they’ve got it wrong.
Mangling common expressions isn't unusual. We've all done it. Many moons ago when I taught freshman comp for a couple of semesters, I came across some entertaining errors in students' papers, among them "far and in between" instead of "few and far between." Good try, and poetic, in a way. But readers expect a bit more from three-time Pulitzer winners.
(Paul Brians' Common Errors in English Usage is a highly recommended resource.)
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