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0-for-a muse of fire
Posted: 10 September 2006 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]

I have a terrible twitch: I hate it when people, especially alleged “professionals” such as journalists, use improper English grammar.  This is ironic, since I am far from perfect in my own grammar, having been an indifferent student of the English language all my life.  Nevertheless, there it is, and when it comes to “sports journalism” there is one error that just drives me up the wall:  when somebody says something of the form “two for five.”

What they really mean to say is “two in five,” or possibly “two of five,” which is immediately evident if one says it the long way:  “He had two hits in five attempts,” e.g., or “two hits of five attempts,” although that is a bit old-fashioned.  Or, if said conversely, one might say “He made five attempts for two hits,” which is the proper use of that little preposition “for,” to indicate a progression from the greater to the lesser, and not ‘tother way around.  But think how stupid it would sound to say “He had two hits for five attempts.” 

I wonder how this error was promulgated, and I wonder if anything can be done about it.  But I reckon not: it is such an entrenched part of our language that I doubt few are even aware that it is an error.  Still, every once in awhile, I need to rant about somebody else’s shortcomings (while resolutely ignoring my own).

—Mal

Posted: 27 October 2006 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]

I had not thought about that.  I will do my part to correct it and forever more I will say ‘2 of 5’.  I wil even say ‘1 of 5’ if that is the case or ‘2 of 4’ if that is the case.  It’s a little like voting though in that it probably won’t make any difference but it will make me feel better about myself.

   
 
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