US Idiom: "set foot" vs "step foot".

A common idiom I’ve heard and used for 40+ years to express disapproval is “I’d never set foot in [insert place name here].” e.g. “I’d never set foot in Denny’s; their food & service are awful.” “I’d never set foot in a Baptist church; they’re no fun.” etc.

Over all the years & all the various places I’ve lived I’ve also heard many other people use the same idiom.

Here on the SDMB I’ve read some posts where some people use “step foot” instead. “I’d never step foot in a Walmart. The other customers are too skeevy.” etc.

I have never heard a live person say “step foot” though. And it sounds really wrong, bordering on meaningless, to me. I suspect they think the same of folks who say “set foot” though.
So which do you use? how old are you and from where? Which do you hear where you are now? Where is that? Does anyone know of any real academic linguistic research on the topic?

Me? I’m in my fifties & grew up in SoCal. I’ve lived in the West, South, & now Midwest, plus travelled a lot in the bigger cities throughout the US.

I put “step foot in” in the same category as “for all intensive purposes”. That is, something to be corrected, once I can stop giggling.

Ug. I didn’t know it was multiple choice. I both do and hear “set foot,” but “step foot” in the negative sounds good to me, although I doubt I’ll ever use it.

Imho, my WAG is “step foot” could be used as a critique of something you’ve done:

I’ll never step foot in there again.

while “set foot” could be used to show inexperience:

I’ve never set foot in there (ever).

I don’t see any reason it needs to be corrected. It still makes perfect sense, unlike “all intensive purposes.”

Something on the order of 50 votes and 3 whole comments. Leave it to me to ask a real crowd pleaser …

You don’t step your feet. You step.

Set Foot.

It’s like people who say “chester drawers” instead of “chest of drawers” and “ration of shit” instead of “rash of shit”.

I hear both and probably use both, but I’d be more likely to say “set foot”.

Set foot, all the way.

I prefer not to set foot in the house of someone who says things like “all intensive purposes” and “step foot.”

Wait: “rash of shit”? Never heard that one. Whatsit mean?

I say and hear set foot. In keeping with this thread, the other day I saw a sidewalk sign advertising the services of a medium – she can tell your “pass, present and future.”

You know, so you can win at craps.

Every time I see “for all intensive purposes” in print (I’ve never heard it IRL), I imagine a platypus. I don’t know why.

I probably need some kind of help.

That’s WRONG? I’ve never heard “rash of shit”; I don’t even know what that means.

Bug-ugly / butt-ugly

Another vote that “ration of shit” is correct and “rash of shit” is wrong.

After more thought, I think it’s an overgeneralization error:

I’ll never set foot in there again.

I’ll never step in there again.

set foot in + step in = step foot in.

When you have two expressions that mean almost the same thing, it’s very common for people to combine them and it will sound decent to a native speaker.

100% Set foot in.

I don’t think it’s a US idiom, by the way. Unless you’re referring to the ‘step foot in’ bit.

set foot is all I have ever heard and said.

Ration of shit. Never heard rash.

I’m mid-50’s west-coaster.

It’s supposed to be “intensive porpoises,” right?

Meh. In some dialects, one reaches one’s hand, so maybe one can step one’s foot. However, I think Superhal is correct on the origin.

Also, for some it’s a “raft” of shit.