Tabs on Writing

The Business of Business Writing by John Tabellione, Principal at

Understanding “Inside” Baseball

Date: 30 April 2012
Category: Homophones, Spelling, Sports

The Atlanta sports pages brought up a rare homophone when catcher, Brian McCann, pulled his intercostal muscle early in the season running out a ground ball. Intercostal derives from the Latin words for rib (costa) and “inter-” meaning “between” or “among.” That is to say, this is the muscle between the ribs and it lies above the oblique muscle.

The prefix “intra-” pertains to an area “within.” Thus, the Intracoastal Waterway, which “runs for most of the length of the Eastern Seaboard within the boundaries of the U.S. mainland and barrier islands, consists of several natural inlets, salt-water rivers, bays, sounds and artificial canals. The result is that the Intracoastal Waterway is able to provide a navigable route without many of the hazards of travel on the open Atlantic.

In other inside baseball news, the high-flying Orioles from Baltimore were tied for first place in the American League East Division. It was still only April 30th, however, so the Yankees and the Red Sox didn’t panic.

Years ago, when trying to teach my wife, who, at the time was not a baseball fan, the nicknames of all of the teams, she was always able to correctly associate the Baltimore team by calling them the “Oreos.” Congratulations, by the way, to Kraft Foods (although the Oreos were originally developed by the National Biscuit Company) on the one hundred year anniversary of everyone’s favorite cookie with a very important “inside” treat of white cream filling: 70 million are sold every day!

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