“On Accident” or “By Accident”?

Just a pet peeve of mine, “On Accident”, just feels wrong. So, why are so many people using this phrase now, especially the younger crowd?

I looked it up!

From Vocabulary.com (Seems like a reliable source, but sure makes sense to me).

“by accident” vs. “on accident”

July 26, 2021

“This phrase comes from the French par accident, which in turn derives from the Latin per accidens — so the use of by as a preposition before accident goes all the way back to at least the 4th century.

We also have the phrase by chance to show how the preposition works in front of a word with a similar meaning; chance and accident both refer to something that could have happened differently. The first example below shows how by accident has a logical opposite in by design:

For three to four days a week, for weeks and months and years, he trained with stronger athletes — not by accident, but by design. (Seattle Times)

People always got things wrong, on purpose as much as by accident(The Underground Railroad)

The second example shows the likely origin of on accident. The expression appears to have come into being recently, as a structurally consistent opposite of on purpose. Imagine this exchange between two siblings: “You broke that toy on purpose!” “No I didn’t! It was on accident!”

The following examples show how common the incorrect form has become:

Police said the fire was set by a resident of the home, but it is unclear whether it was intentional or on accident, according to the station. (Fox News)

Servey said it’s unclear if they were locked in the corral on accident by the caretaker or if somebody did it intentionally. (Washington Times)

To remember the correct phrase, remind yourself that by design is the opposite of by accident, and both use the preposition by. Prepositional expressions like this are idiomatic, but on accident is simply a mistake, however frequent. Sometimes you simply have to learn the rules. Good writing doesn’t happen by accident!”

Maybe I’m just an old fart, but I had a gut feeling and found it was true.

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