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Drystone Wall

On accident

Over the years, I’ve heard many children say on accident rather than by accident. Kids haven’t learned the finer points of grammar and phrasing, so it’s but one of the many mistakes they sometimes make. This is born out by the fact that I’ve never heard any child over the age of about ten say it.

Until now. I saw a U.S. John Deere television ad in which the voice-over states:

To make sure people don’t break John Deere tractors on accident, we try to break them on purpose.

I was reading at the time and my head snapped up so quickly that I surprised myself. The only good thing I can stay about this is that I now know why kids make this mistake! Is on accident accepted usage somewhere in the U.S. or should John Deere be looking for a new ad agency before they embarrass themselves further?


The advertising deal


About this whole Volkswagen scandal…


  1. Jeff Powell

    It seems to be a US mid-west thing. Have also noticed that Deere has re-recorded the VO to say “by accident”.

  2. Shawn Greenberg

    here it is by accident and on purpose. I have never heard on accident

  3. Rick

    I’m pretty sure the station I was watching is broadcast out of Buffalo. Either that, or they have changed it since then.

  4. Jeff Powell

    I may have seen a Canadian version of the spot. Often the Canadian division will use TV creative from the US parent and re-purpose for English and French Canada.

    • Rick

      I’m guessing this is why every damn car commercial on Canadian television carries the small print, “U.S. Model shown.”

      • Jeff Powell

        Sometimes, but not always. From my experience, sometimes the prototype models that we used did not match final specifications (usually because prototypes were ordered well before the final grades/packages had been finalized).

  5. Jennifer

    Yeah, it’s a pretty common thing to hear in the southern U.S., amongst other travesties of the English language. The southern accent and many quirks of our dialect can often be heard in the central plains, as well, which is prime farm country. And since you were being subjected to a John Deere commercial, I’d say they were speaking the language of their people. Haha!

  6. Jessica

    I’ve seen that ad, but I guess I never listened closely enough to hear that. Also, I can’t recall ever hearing that expression, from a kid or anyone else. I’ll have to perk up my ears next time it comes on!

  7. Randal

    I noticed it too, the first time I heard it. I heard it that way about three times over a period of about two weeks, but since then, the company has changed the ad! Yes, they have corrected it where I am. The voice over now says, “To make sure that people don’t break John Deere tractors BY accident, we try to break them on purpose.”

  8. Jessica

    Yep, I listened closely the next time the ad came on, and it definitely says “by accident.” Kudos to John Deere for correcting it! They didn’t have to.…

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