Hi
I used to think that the standard "correct" expression was "patently obvious", and that "blatantly obvious" was an incorrect guess based on mishearing/misunderstanding. However, "blatantly obvious" now seems to be almost universal, and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm wrong!

Any thoughts?
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Hi I used to think that the standard "correct" expression was "patently obvious", and that "blatantly obvious" was an incorrect guess based on mishearing/misunderstanding. However, "blatantly obvious" now seems to be almost universal, and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm wrong! Any thoughts?

'Patently obvious' is indeed a collocation of long standing, having outlived the sense "readily visible" of the adjective 'patent'. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that 'blatantly obvious' is supplanting it, because the word 'blatant' is current, and the phrase is therefore more understandable to those encountering it for the first time.

I can see no reason for objecting to 'blatantly obvious' - its meaning is perfectly clear without reference to the other version. You may be right that it arose as an alteration, but that doesn't make it wrong!

Mark Barratt
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I agree that the meaning is clear, and that "blatantly obvious" is an accepted idiom; but it has always sounded slightly wrong to me where what is described has no volition.
"He made it blatantly obvious that he hated me" strikes me as fine, therefore; whereas "it was blatantly obvious that the dress didn't suit her" sounds off to me because neither dress nor wearer is unsuitable deliberately.
Peasemarch.
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I used to think that the standard "correct" expression was "patently obvious", and that "blatantly obvious" was an incorrect guess based on mishearing/misunderstanding.

As the two words don't sound at all similar, this is a surprising suggestion. That is, of course, they don't here*, because "patently" has a short A. I am also surprised at the suggestion that there *is a "standard 'correct' expression"; there doesn't seem to be anything like an idiom here, but just an adjective used with either of two different adverbs.

Mark Brader, Toronto > "One thing that surprises you about this business (Email Removed) > is the surprises." Tim Baker

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In the UK, "blatant" rhymes with "patent", usually.
In the UK, "blatant" rhymes with "patent", usually.

That's not true of the (adjective-derived) noun 'patent' as in 'letters patent', is it?
In AmE, I think the "blatant" pronunciation is more proper for the adjective, but the 'pat' pronunciation is heard more commonly.

Let's hope that Erk's patents aren't patently obvious (= WolffE "lacking inventive step"???).
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Hi I used to think that the standard "correct" expression was"patently obvious", and that "blatantly obvious" was an incorrect guess basedon mishearing/misunderstanding. However, "blatantly obvious" now seemsto be almost universal, and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm wrong! Any thoughts?[/nq]You're not entirely wrong. But "blatant" is real English: it comes from Spenser, who's usually good enough for me. I do, though, deprecate its use instead of "very clear": it should be allowed to retain its offensive sense. I'm not quite sure that it can, but if a "blatantly obvious" thing can now be a good thing, that's a pity. I have a feeling that, for once, sports commentators are getting it at least partly right: "That was a blatant foul" comes from their lips very easily, while "That was a blatant goal" seems not to.

Thinking on my feet, "Blatantly obvious" may refer to something good, but I have the feeling that it still carries a pejorative implication in certain ways: suggesting, perhaps, that the observer is or would be to blame for not having noticed it. I'm not 100% sure about this, and look forward to comments from others. Spenser certainly didn't mean it that way, though.
I think there may indeed be a link to "patent", but also to "glaring" through "blaring". I've at least once heard a British (Wiltshire) speaker speak of the sun "blaring down": I noticed, because to me "blare" refers only to sound, and thought it was rather a fine usage if it wasn't just a mistake. I thought of that passage in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia where the musical score parallelled the merciless blows of the desert sun as they "impossibly" crossed the Nefud.

Mike.
In the UK, "blatant" rhymes with "patent", usually.

That's not true of the (adjective-derived) noun 'patent' as in 'letters patent', is it? In AmE, I think the "blatant" ... the 'pat' pronunciation is heard more commonly. Let's hope that Erk's patents aren't patently obvious (= WolffE "lacking inventive step"???).

I come, I come (slightly delayed by catching fly (no, not that one, an insect of the Diptera) in one hand and reverentially placing it outside the door to pursue its meagre existence).
Peasemarch is right. But in the business, 'patent' is become a short-a'd word. A sign of globalarsation.
Before anyone complains, I liked 'is become', so there.
Paul
In bocca al Lupo!
Hi I used to think that the standard "correct" expression ... and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm wrong! Any thoughts?

'Patently obvious' is indeed a collocation of long standing, having outlived the sense "readily visible" of the adjective 'patent'. It ... to the other version. You may be right that it arose as an alteration, but that doesn't make it wrong!

Not wrong, but after "blatantly" I normally expect a negative adjective like "blatantly wrong".

Rob Bannister
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