Monday, February 07, 2011

yea though i walk through the vale of tears

Nothing makes my inner English teacher writhe like Yahoo! sports news. There's always some horrible affront going down. I don't read sports news much anyway, and a lot of "sports news" is actually celebrity news, i.e. "Mr. ABC helps fan fix flat tire," or "Burger flipper fired for giving Jock Hero a free coke." Today there was a sports story on the Yahoo! home page, a heart-rending article about an injured footballer giving a speech to his teammates and "breaking down into tears." (It wasn't much of a speech as far as I understood. He'd said about two words when the faucet started flowing. Awwww!)

Anyway I would like to publicly register my chagrin about the prepositional overkill of "breaking down into tears." You can either "break into tears" or "break down in tears." You don't have to go overboard and "break down into tears," which reads like some kind of transformative, molecular miracle.

"We were in the chemistry lab when the nitrous dioxide broke down into nitrous oxide."
"I was eating lunch when salivary amylase broke the starches down into sugars."
"He was watching Lassie when the Incredible Hulk broke down into tears and scattered about the living room."

It's just not necessary.

I would also like to express my preference for being "on the verge of tears" over "being on the point of tears." You may also be "brought/moved to tears" or "to the verge of tears." I suppose "point" is not wrong, but it is not very sharp either.


Anonymous said...

My level of understanding of the nuance of speech aren't that tuned. It does irk me, however, receiving the idiomatic spelling of words - UR gr8.

I heard the story of the injured player that served as the catalyst for the win. I wish I wasn't as angered over how elevated those games have become.

SarahJane said...

I am tired of celebrities period. A guy drops a coin and a celebrity picks it up and hands it back and suddenly s/he is an even better celebrity than ever!
The good news is Yahoo! has edited its damned over-prepositioned story. Surely they read my blog.

Jeff said...

I dunno Sarah - sometimes we string together words and phrases like so many odd dabs and strokes of paint. Something fits together in a particular way that makes sense stylistically or rhythmically. Like the difference between classical and contemporary art.

Journalistically, "breaking down into tears" might not work - poetically, I think it has a chance.

I mean, isn't poetry itself a molecular miracle? :)

- Jeff

Related Posts with Thumbnails