Style Matters #32: Raise your glasses as losers must not ‘concede defeat’


Australia is in the midst of yet more voting madness and we are counting the days until the outcome of the “most important federal election in a generation” is declared, after the polls begin closing on the east coast at 6pm on September 7.

We will watch the endless patter as the results unfold on the television on election night and I think, at our house, we just might instigate a somewhat irresponsible drinking game.

Every time an announcer or interviewer says that a losing candidate, or a disappointed party leader, is about to/expected to concede defeat, we could raise our glasses and make a toast to tortured terminology.

Going by past performances, we could end up rather over-served – to borrow a friend’s saying – because concede defeat is a phrase regularly used, even by our nation’s top political broadcasters.

If only they remembered the word concede means to acknowledge defeat and that, by saying concede defeat, they have created a tautology.



UPDATE: Both the outgoing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the new one, Tony Abbott, uttered these words in election night speeches and at least one reporter from our national broadcaster tweeted them too. And now some of our online news services have lapsed. Sigh. The only saving grace was the BBC. Bless them.

ABC tweet on election night

Tweet on election night from ABC reporter.

The ABC home page

The error even crept into ABC’s home page.

Brisbane Times home page slider had error

The Brisbane Times home page slider had the error. story with error

It didn’t take long to find the error on the website either.

The Guardian's email newsletter with error

Even The Guardian’s email newsletter plug couldn’t avoid the error.

BBC website reports concession correctly on its home page

BBC website reports concession correctly on its home page


If you like what you’ve read here, you can see reporting4work’s similar posts at Style Matters

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