Monday, July 18, 2005

Helping copy editors everywhere play their A game

You should check out this article on sports cliches from the Kansas City Star. A peek:
Cliches have become a staple of an athlete's vernacular, so common that people like McEwing go home and recite them to kids in the community. Coaches ooze with them, players repeat them, and English professors and journalists cringe at them.

They wonder whether athletes have anything original left to say.

"Sports is the model of life in some sense," says Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguistics professor at Stanford. "You kind of don't want it to be original. Sports isn't original. It's about bathing you in this familiar glow of platitudes and cliches. You go there and say the same things your dad said.

"Things are cliches for two reasons -- one, people are too lazy to think of anything else, and two, they're true."
It includes a discussion of one of the most popular sports cliches: giving 110 percent, one that makes me cringe more than others. (I heard just yesterday: "I'm giving 120 percent!" Not even 110 can cut it anymore.) And there's also a quiz: Match the cliche with the sports personality.


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