Don't Listen to
They do terrible
things to the language!
Although many are very well spoken, too many other
sportscasters do terrible things to the language. Here are just
a few notable examples.
• He played good tonight.
Good is an adjective, and
must describe a noun or pronoun. Here we need an adverb to
describe the verb, indicating how he played. Two correct
versions are: He played well
tonight or He played a good game
• This is one pitcher he never hits well against.
Sentences should not end with prepositions. The correct
version is: This is one pitcher against whom he
never hits well. (I know some may feel this is
too formal for broadcasting, but just don't assume it's right
and put it in your business message!)
• In a newspaper report the day after a baseball game, the
following statement appeared: Anderson’s eighth
home run of the season off Clemens tied the
Because of the absence of commas, the phrase off
Clemens must be read and understood as
information defining the subject, not extra information about
the subject. Thus, the sentence means that all eight of
Anderson’s home runs had been hit against Clemens. In fact,
this was his eighth home run of the season and it just happened
to be (extra information) off Clemens, so this information must
be enclosed between two commas. Incidentally, off
Clemens is a colloquial phrase used in baseball and
acceptable in that setting, even though the ball doesn’t
actually hit the pitcher (usually!). The sentence should read:
Anderson’s eighth home run of the season, off
Clemens, tied the game.
For more tips on grammar, read about 101 Grammar Gaffes.
Feel free to use this or other articles on this site in
your in-house publication or online newsletters, so long as you
make no changes, use the entire article, and add the following
attribution at the end:
Helen Wilkie speaks at conferences and conducts
corporate training sessions on all aspects of business
communication. She is the author of Message Received
and Understood! and The Hidden Profit
Center. Contact her by phone at 416-966-5023, by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or browse her main website at www.mhwcom.com