I’ll also mention that “mute point” is an “eggcorn” — a new category of writing mistake that linguists have identified and my fellow college teachers might find useful in responding to student writing. I’m certainly glad to have a new tool that helps me climb down from the high horse I have occasionally mounted in 10-plus years of teaching creative writing, essay writing, business writing, and you-fill-in-the-blank-here writing. It’s nice to have a way of explaining mistakes that doesn’t make students feel stupid.
All eggcorns makes sense on some level. For example, the eggcorn “girdle one’s loins” is far more understandable than the archaic “gird one’s loins.” “Free reign” — an extremely common misspelling — expresses a similar laxness to “free rein,” and there’s a kind of exclamatory kismet between “whoa is me!” and “woe is me!” —Mark Peters —Like a Bowl in a China Shop (Chronicle)
I just recently used “free reign” in a blog entry. Whoa is me!