"on the IMprove"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Sep 20 14:23:21 UTC 2009

Another case of the language changing without anyone telling me about
it.  Mike Francesa, on his weekly syndicated NFL preview show, just
mentioned that the Oakland Raiders are "on the improve"--['Impruv],
with penultimate stress as in nouns like "increase", "incline",
"upswing", "uptick", etc.  Google finds "about 2,670,000" pages for
"on the improve", and while many are irrelevant ("on the 'Improve
Your Business' course", "based on the IMPROVE method", "on the
IMPROVE steering committee", a quick estimate indicates that this
leaves a million or so legitimate instances of the prepositional
phrase in question.  And here I never even knew "improve" was a


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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