資訊處   19.4.2012

396

 
《中大通訊》第396期 > Style Speaks > The school defeated the bank

The school defeated the bank

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Any writer of English should know better than to use more words than are necessary to express one idea or thought at a time. But to avoid prolixity is one thing, to be able to combine economy with style is another. Tom Adams, in an exemplary piece of sport journalism, describes the outcome of the clash between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF with a one-liner:

The school defeated the bank. 1

The subject of the sentence refers to the fact that the majority of Barcelona’s brilliant young players come from its own academy, whereas Real Madrid’s business model, to use a fashionable word, is to pay hefty sums to attract world-famous footballers, hence bank. Adams has used five simple English words to not only deliver the result of El Clásico but also pass judgment on the two footballing philosophies.

The first person to propose the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe is the Belgium Catholic priest Georges Lemaître (1894–1966), who later became president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Roger G. Newton, in reviewing John D. Barrow’s The Book of Universes for TLS, comments on the appointment:

Rome was not always hostile to science. 2

These are not topic sentences, which are found at the beginning of paragraphs to adumbrate the ensuing arguments. They are verbal dessert that completes and relishes the previous serving.

Editor

1 Tom Adams, ‘Barca simply the best after Real rout’, ESPNsoccernet.com, 29 November 2010.

2 Roger G. Newton, ‘Reconciles’, TLS, 24 June 2011, p. 32.

www.iso.cuhk.edu.hk/english/features/style-speaks/

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