Thursday, June 4, 2009

Convoluted Sports Phrasing

If you were to listen to sportscasts of the fifties, I feel safe to bet that you would never hear the phrases that we'll discuss here. The first is "on the night." Example: "Jackson has thirty points on the night." How can anything be "on a night"? "Tonight," "during the night," and "for the night" sound right and make sense. "Jackson has thirty points in the game" tells the story, too. I think one of the reasons that "on the night" has come into vogue is that with sports reports progressing continuously on worldwide broadcasts through multiple time zones, networks are afraid to announce "tonight" or "last night," since the listener may be confused when the event happened. Note, though, that "during the night," "for the night," and "in the game" shouldn't cause any misunderstanding. "On the night" on a live broadcast is convoluted versus simply "tonight." Likewise, don't say, "on the season." Make it, "for the season," "during the season," or most simply, "this season."

We've had some blogs about extra words like "up" in "serve up." How about "early on"? "The Cougars have shown some power early on." Why do we need "on"? If one feels the need to be more specific, he should say exactly what he means: "The Cougars have shown some power early in this game," or ". . . early this season."

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