For this week’s short football language podcast, we look at the verb phrase ‘to take on‘. Check out our football glossary and football cliches pages for hundreds more explanations of the language of soccer. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments then please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. (DB=Damon)
Listening Report: Take On
DB: You’re listening to languagecaster.com. Hi there everyone, and welcome to languagecaster and another short podcast on the language of football. My name’s Damon, I’m based in Tokyo, which is enjoying some wonderful early spring weather. As you will know if you are a regular listener, I’m one of the languagecaster team, the other being Damian, who is based in London. We both hope you are all well and enjoying the football wherever you are listening in world.
Now today, I’ll be talking about a verb phrase, to take on, but before I start, here’s a message in Danish.
Stinger: You’re listening to languagecaster.com (in Danish)
To Take On
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OK, first let’s look at how to use today’s phrase grammatically. The verb phrase can be split, so take someone on, or take something on. The verb ‘take’ is followed by a noun and then the preposition ‘on’. It can also be used without splitting the verb and preposition, take on someone, take on something. This is more common with the pattern ‘take on someone‘.
Now, what about the meaning? The first pattern, with take something on, means to try something, to attempt something or to take responsibility. The second pattern, to take someone on is slightly different, meaning to challenge someone, to battle against someone, to try to beat someone.
Let’s take a look at some examples. I was watching Sheffield United versus Aston Villa in the Premier League today and I heard the commentators describe a goal like this: ‘Baldock, I think he’s taken a shot on. But McGoldrick doesn’t give it up. He keeps running. He’s onside and he gets a bit of luck, in off the underside of the bar… So, Baldock tried a shot, he attempted a shot. The commentator said, he took a shot on, and a teammate, McGoldrick got on the end of the missed shot and scored.
And here’s an example from a BBC match report – Ross County versus Rangers:
‘Mullin was growing in confidence. Another run through the middle, this time he took the shot on and McGregor had to tip over.’
Ok, and now an example of take someone on, again from the BBC. This time a match report – Tottenham versus Manchester United:
“He (Bergwijn) just took on the defence and Harry Maguire did not know whether to come or go and he left him for dead. What a finish. Before David de Gea could react it was practically in the back of the net.”
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Thanks for listening. Stay safe, enjoy the football, and we’ll be back soon with some more football language to talk about.