Saturday, January 14, 2012

Back-to-back gripes

My father-in-law, a copy curmudgeon of a higher order than I, and a sports fan of a higher or-- ... wait, I need only say "a sports fan" because I'm not a sports fan of any order -- requested that I address an apparently common phrase among sportswriters: "back-to-back-to-back" (as in "back-to-back-to-back games" or "back-to-back-to-back victories").

I correctly guessed that this means "three consecutive," but you don't need to be a word nerd to realize that the phrase does not make sense, if you really think about it. If the first two things are back to back, there's no back for the third thing to back up to. As my father-in-law says, "There's no figure in that figure of speech."

Another remark -- this one from a sportscaster my husband heard on the radio -- that smacks of too many knocks to the head on the gridiron: "one-game winning streak." I'm without words.

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