Watch your Place!

rogersgeorge on October 8th, 2017

This kind of mistake is mainly a result of carelessness, I think. Some words refer to points in space, not general areas. These include “center,” and “base.” Here are two examples of doing it wrong. They both treat these points as vague areas that you hang around the edges of.

Usenet’s creation was based around the idea that computers were becoming sophisticated enough that they could be used to hold conversations, and there was plenty of conversation going on.

Beverly Hills, 90210 originally centered around Brenda (Shannen Dougherty) and Brandon Walsh (Priestley), middle-class high-school-age twins from Minnesota who relocate to ritzy Beverly Hills with their parents.

Your base is a single place—you’re based on something. (Don’t say “based out of,” either.) Same for “center.” You should be centered on something.

These examples of muddy thinking are not a good thing when you explain something. You need to be precise. Maybe you can get away with it when you do a grocery list. That food is around here somewhere…

PS—After I finished this post, I ran into a good example of “based out of,” which I repeat, you shouldn’t write. Use
based in” or “based at.”

The Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group, based out of Tufts University is leading the charge to build a consensus on how math can make better districtings.

It’s a graphic article, but it’s worthwhile. Find the article here.

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