Throughout the summer months Americans watch and play Baseball, known by many as the country’s national pastime. The chorus of the famous song, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” describes much of what you need to know about going to the ballpark to watch a game. Though it was written in 1908, it is still played at games today. While the rules of baseball may not be clear to everyone, English gets many expressions from the game which are used regularly in many different situations. Here are a few:

Home Run – A success. If you did a great job on your recent presentation or project, you hit a home run. In both baseball and other situations, a home run is a good thing.

Curve ball – Something that is unexpected. If someone throws you a curveball it will come as a surprise to you.

Hardball – When someone behaves aggressively to achieve a win or their desired results.

Ballpark Figure – An estimated number. A ballpark figure will give you a general idea of how much something is.

Go to bat for someone – To support someone or recommend someone. When you really go to bat for someone you put your reputation on the line.

3 Strikes and you’re out – A strike is a mistake or failure so if you are given three chances and “strikeout”, or fail completely, you won’t be given any additional chances.

Off base – To be mistaken or far from correct. Sometimes, to add emphasis, we say someone is way off base to express that they are completely wrong about something they are saying or doing.

To have/keep your eye on the ball – To be focused. When we are working on something especially important, we need to keep our eye on the ball.

Step up to the plate – To take action or responsibility for something that needs to be done.

Play ball – To cooperate with someone or to start something. When you play ball you are willing to work with someone or do what they say.

Touch base – To make contact with someone. If you agree to touch base with someone you will probably be communicating with them soon.

With these expressions you’re now ready to “Play Ball!”, which is what the umpire announces to officially start the game; or you can just use them to show off your great language skills.

Written by Fleur-Isabelle Stewart, English expert at Primera



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