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Thread: Bogus comparison: "As big as a football field"

  1. #26
    Mostly harmless SuperModerator dpaterso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Expat View Post
    I believe that my post should be accepted by AW as the definitive remarks on this subject, and thus, this thread should be locked.
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  2. #27
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    I agree. Football field and stadium are two different things. When I hear "football field" I don't think of the stadium. In fact, stadium sizes vary a lot. The Cowboy stadium is much bigger than a high school stadium, even thought the field is of the same size.

    So, even saying "as big as a football stadium" is a bit meaningless, like tko said.... How big is a building, or a rock? These are supposed to be approximate comparison, but still, the variation is huge. They're supposed to be a "general idea" not not a precise measurement. Or else we'd have said, "It's exactly a hundred yard long, like a football field."

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  3. #28
    Even slower these days Chase's Avatar
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    Yeah, no matter if we think egg-shaped footballs or round soccer balls, football field is a good, general image maker for a hundred-plus yards or meters and about half that wide.

    The cliché is appropriate for giving the most readers the approximate idea.

  4. #29
    Distracted Chicago Expat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaterso View Post
    Oh! The temptation!

    -Derek
    It's really for the best. Consider the fact that the Arena Football League hasn't yet chimed in with their demands that you modify the phrase to say, "As long as an NFL football field." But if you do that, you're gonna hear a chorus of complaints from the UFL demanding that you retract the NFL modifier because it waters down the UFL's brand name by excluding them from the conversation. And no matter what you do, as soon as their episode of Matlock is over, the Association of Retired Football Players will condescendingly declare that a football field is not, in fact, one hundred yards, but is actually five miles long, and they should know, because they had to walk it every day through the snow both to and from the end zone they were defending. And let me remind you that you've only suffered the merest amuse-bouche of Canadian intractability and their odd football euphemisms like, "Third down and two grizzly bears to go."

    End it now before it's too late!
    Last edited by Chicago Expat; 04-05-2011 at 02:09 AM.

  5. #30
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    Getting back to Mai's bump...

    I can't believe no one has trotted out the proverbial breadbox yet. Of course, that may be because things are referred to as "bigger than a breadbox" or "smaller than a breadbox", though I have heard, "Is it as big as a breadbox?"

    It's kind of the US equivalent to the Canadian beaver discussed above, only less open to double entendre.

    And really, who uses breadboxes anymore ?
    Why doesn't George R. R. Martin use Twitter? He already killed off all 140 characters.

  6. #31
    Caped Codder jaksen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
    Getting back to Mai's bump...

    I can't believe no one has trotted out the proverbial breadbox yet. Of course, that may be because things are referred to as "bigger than a breadbox" or "smaller than a breadbox", though I have heard, "Is it as big as a breadbox?"

    It's kind of the US equivalent to the Canadian beaver discussed above, only less open to double entendre.

    And really, who uses breadboxes anymore ?
    I use a breadbox. Where else would you put your bread?
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  7. #32
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    I'm also on Team Breadbox. It really does keep your bread fresher!

    And I am reminded of Stephen Jay Gould's wonderful essay about how everyone describes the fossil proto-horse Eohippus as "the size of a small fox terrier," too!


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  8. #33
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    On the naming of football. Soccer is the original name for the round ball type sport that today is the world's most popular sport. It was invented in Eaton. "Football" at the time was a horribly complicated affair.

    Historically "football" is just what we call the most popular ball sport at the time(ie when a group of people all try to run after a small thingy and use it to score a goal).

    So Americans are perfectly accurate when they call soccer what it is, as well as calling American football, for just "football". The English are equally accurate when they (in England) call soccer for just "football". "Soccer" will always be an accurate name of.. well... soccer.
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  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
    ...I can't believe no one has trotted out the proverbial breadbox yet. Of course, that may be because things are referred to as "bigger than a breadbox" or "smaller than a breadbox", though I have heard, "Is it as big as a breadbox?"

    It's kind of the US equivalent to the Canadian beaver discussed above, only less open to double entendre...
    Er...Um..actually it's not. In the UK, we use breadbins to keep our bread in. Breadbox is slang for stomach or 'something else'.

    As for football fields, I think they are better measures than acres or hectares. I mean, who can imagine what one of those looks like. Incidentally, you tend to refer to a football pitch (rather than a field) in Britain, and just to confuse matters, they are not all exactly the same size (they are within certain limits).

    Now...I got me a car; it's as big as a whale...

  10. #35
    Even slower these days Chase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
    It's kind of the US equivalent to the Canadian beaver discussed above, only less open to double entendre.
    Only somewhat less. As Kenn said, it can often be "something else."

    In Montana, the sign in front of the Sweetheart Bread Company in Billings and outlet stores still gets lots of laughs:

    "Get your Sweetheart bread here."

    Someone is always emphasizing the point by painting out the "a" to make it "bred."
    Last edited by Chase; 04-05-2011 at 08:36 PM.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
    Getting back to Mai's bump...

    I can't believe no one has trotted out the proverbial breadbox yet. Of course, that may be because things are referred to as "bigger than a breadbox" or "smaller than a breadbox", though I have heard, "Is it as big as a breadbox?"

    It's kind of the US equivalent to the Canadian beaver discussed above, only less open to double entendre.

    And really, who uses breadboxes anymore ?
    Which countries use the breadbox phrase, do you know?

  12. #37
    slightly daft curmudgeon Pete Morin's Avatar
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    The field of play is 120 yards. That's why catches in the back corners of the end zone are so cool to see.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    On the naming of football. Soccer is the original name for the round ball type sport that today is the world's most popular sport. It was invented in Eaton. "Football" at the time was a horribly complicated affair.
    No. The word soccer is a horrible nickname of a type once common among public schoolboys, just as rugger is a horrible version of rugby. The word soccer is contracted from Association Football, set up in 1863. Eton School had nothing to do with codifying or formalising the game.

    There is an alternative explanation, mind, but in any case soccer has never been the word of choice used by supporters in England, and we invented it, sort of.

    As for areas: Trafalgar Square, Belgium and Wales often seem to get used. I don't know how many Trafalgar Squares there are in a Wales, but I suspect quite a few.

  14. #39
    Followed the Red Brick Road STKlingaman's Avatar
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    How about -

    A pitching wedge for a duffer
    not quite as far as 100 meters
    not far enough to be consider a runaway
    a three day journey for a turtle
    two weeks for a snail
    l<->l this far on a state map
    farther then Martin could throw Lewis


    you say football field in england or Australia
    you're gonna confuse people.
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  15. #40
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mai View Post
    Which countries use the breadbox phrase, do you know?
    All I know for sure is the US. I've heard it in different situations, but I suspect it's associated with the game "Twenty Questions", where one gets 20 yes-or-no questions to identify something. An early question is often, "Is it bigger than a breadbox?"
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  16. #41
    Keeping up with the class whacko's Avatar
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    Nelson's Column, in Trafalgar Square I hasten to add to quell the sniggers, was used as a measurement tool for years. Unfortunately it was 7 feet smaller than claimed. So that's a really bogus comparison.

    But the one that does my head in is where something is compared to the size of Wales. No offence to my fellow Celts, call me a scaredy-cat but I don't want a gang singing Land of My Fathers in close harmony chasing me about, but why Wales? It's an absurd rule of thumb.

    Anyway, when someone talks about size in football fields, I think about the green bit. Not the stadium.

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  17. #42
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    ...and the Isle of Wight. Often used for comparisons. I've no idea why.

    Dinosaurs were killed by Isle of Wight-sizes asteroid, scientists say.

  18. #43
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    one thing I think we should all agree on

    One style doesn't work for all genres. If you're writing a hard boiled detective story involving a ex-football player, the comparison makes perfect sense. If you're writing a story about a women's knitting club, it would be stupid.

    Comparisons are like metaphors and similes. To be effective, they should blend into the surrounding elements, and fit the target audience.

    Does anyone here know how far they can run in 13 seconds? Does anyone know if they can run all out for 13 seconds? For a top sprinter, that's maybe 150 yards. For a high school PE class, that 100 yards. For anyone out of college and into middle age, that's maybe 50 yards.

  19. #44
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    In high school, I sprinted 100 meters in about 11.8 seconds. I also weighed 125 lbs.

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  20. #45
    Delerium ex Ennui Xelebes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tko View Post
    From this post
    Imagine:
    As big as a city block? (The worst description ever. Since when did a city block become standardized?)


    The standard block is 1/16th of a mile or 1/256th of a square mile (in Canada, it's equal to 100 m or almost exactly one Canadian football field, which is 10% larger than an American football field.)

    As big a building??

    A building is usually 1/4, 1/6, or 1/8th of a block, otherwise known as a lot. A lowrise is standardised at 40 feet, a midrise at 100 feet and a highrise at 300 feet. A skyscraper is 1 000 feet and is usually built on a whole block. A superscraper is 2 000 feet (Burj Dubai) but built on two or more blocks.

    As big as a rock???

    The old definition of a rock is an exposed mountain and would be the same as a berg. If we are to use survey recognition, a rock or berg is taller than a 1 000 feet from the base.

    As tall as the hills?

    As opposed to a rock, berg or mountain, this is under 1 000 feet but still seen.

    As wide as a freeway? Wider than the ocean?

    A freeway is six lanes with merge lanes added. A lane is 12 feet - so a football field is adequate to measure the width of an urban freeway, doubled when dealing with a suburban or rural freeway. There are exceptions with extraordinary freeways (Toronto's 401 is 16 lanes, or 200 feet/400 feet with medians.) An ocean is a significant fraction of the planet's circumference.
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  21. #46
    'Tis true, she is a monstergirl dgrintalis's Avatar
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    I have to admit I had no idea how long a football field was until I read this post. Then again, I'm not into sports. At all. As I'm sure you can tell.
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