Friday, February 24, 2012

Phrasal verbal diarrhoea

America's Got Talent isn't a show I watch a great deal, but on the few recent occasions that I've seen it I've nearly been driven mad by the presenter's insistent phrase, Give it up for... whoever is next in line.

According to usingenglish.com give it up for is a phrasal verb (I did not know this - in fact I didn't know phrasal verbs existed - a day of revelations, this one!).   It's obviously a common enough expression, but its commonness is increased exponentially by the presenter because he says it at least forty times per episode.  Can't he think of anything else?  He begins to sound like an automaton who has only one expression up his sleeve.

And anyway what does give it up for actually mean (apart from applauding the artist in question)?   What are the audience giving up, exactly?  I know English is full of peculiar expressions, as are most languages, but had the audience snatched a large chunk of applause before the cameras rolled and were now having to dole it out to the presenter?  Give it up (or give it over) is a common enough expression meaning to stop rabbiting on about something and say something sensible.   That's exactly what I'd like to see this presenter doing.

Don't those who employ presenters on these shows use background check services to make sure that the aforesaid presenter isn't going to say the same thing over and over?  Has he been employed elsewhere and got stuck on some other phrase, such as the artiste in question, or, moving right along now...?  Wouldn't this give the employers a clue that he might be a bit limited in his use of phrasal verbs?  Though admittedly most phrasal verbs are pretty bland: add up to, break into, catch up with, do away with, and the like.

I think what this guy has to do is get a thesaurus out (or use an online one) and check out some other possibilities, so that he doesn't keep coming to that crunch point and find himself saying yet again...give it up for...


What about these possibilities: why don't you all throw your hands together for...?  Give a great big hand to....? how about you all stand to your feet and whistle and cheer and clap your hands?   I wanna see you all go wild now...!  A little bit of aggrandizement wouldn't go astray now for....


And so on.
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