[Ads-l] "unforced error"

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 2 11:41:02 UTC 2016

I doubt it was just "made up". I recall newspaper reports of tennis matches
listing first only aces and double faults, then, in the late 1980s, adding
service winners, winners and unforced errors. IIRC, service winner was a
serve returned long or into the net. Winners were counted as overhead slams
and lob shots -- basically, a set shot. And unforced error was a simple
volley (not a "winner") that was returned long or into the net or a set
shot that was mishit.

While the term had been in use much longer, the specific change in
quantitative reporting style might have been what prompted the recollection.


On Sat, Jul 2, 2016, 1:58 AM Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "unforced error"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 12:14 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
> adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> > The 2013 article in "The New York Times" suggested a provenance via
> > "introduction in tennis three decades ago", i.e., circa 1983.
> >
> The writer probably just made that up, based on when he personally first
> heard it, a la contributors to the UD.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
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