Frugal Mom and I, for instance, both often substitute "I can't know" for "I don't know." Actually, I'm not sure where we even picked that up; she lived with me for a short while when she was twelve years old, did we coin the phrase then? "I can't know."
Likewise, my niece, corrected to say "May I," instead of "Can I" when she was a toddler, just played it safe, and combined the two into "Can I May," and that stuck also. "Can I may go outside?"
My employer grew up in Israel, and many of us, over the years have adopted (ok, mimicked, goodheartedly) his tendency to say "Is there is..." instead of "Is there..." "Is there is any cake left?"
My favorite, from my family, resulted from a visit to the grocery store when Brian was about 2 years old. Something festive going on that day, there was a guy in a gorilla suit standing outside the front door.
I decided to just button my lip and see how Brian would react. He gave a little start, but just moved closer to me, without a word. And a little closer...and then a little more closer. By the time I walked into the store, Brian was riding on my leg like a little monkey himself, still never having said a word. Kind of like the little guy on the right, here:
When we got inside to safety, he got back on his feet, and noted, "did you see that big 'ol mmmmmmmmonkey?" (Yes, you have to draw out the "M" to get this right.) I played dumb, so he explained it to me: "There was a big ol mmmmmmonkey out there, Mommy; it was a big ol' mmmmmmmmmonkey." On and on about the big ol monkey, while I laughed myself to tears.
From this incident, "big 'ol mmmmmmonkey" is now an adjective, in our family, for anything that is large, huge, excessive. I've used it for 20 years or so, and Clint has even started using it, when he needs to get his point across. You will hear us say, "It was a big ol mmmmmonkey fire," or "look at this big 'ol mmmmonkey green pepper I bought today."
What about you? What unique phrases have you and your family or friends adapted into your everyday vernacular? How did they come into existence?