I'm usually all for the proliferation of the English language but lately I’ve become annoyed every time I encounter a certain word. When I read it in the sports pages or hear the rich tones of Les Murray spoilt by its use, I just groan and curl up inside. The word in question is brace. I'm happy for sailors to brace themselves in high seas, carpenters can use a brace to help support a beam and Legolas wannabes can still wear a brace to protect their forearms. Dentists may still ruin teenager's social lives by fitting them with braces and I have no problem with couples (of either, both or many orientations) clasping one another in a loving embrace.
I simply wish that commentators (especially those of the Association Football persuasion) stop describing two goals, trys, points etc. as a brace. A dozen, score or century are all perfectly acceptable as they describe a number which is substantial enough that it warrant's being highlighted by the use of a specific term. Three wickets, penalties, aces is an event that needs the phrase 'hat-trick' to note the rarity of the occasion but one less is nothing to write home about.
What the hell is wrong with two? “Henri scored two goals,” is a fine quote but to elevate it as being something of mark, by replacing the number with a specific noun takes something away from those that achieve one more. I'm not some crazy Frenchie who wants the word banned. When we start forcibly removing words from the English language, we might as well start building bonfires and throw the books on as well but if this one tiny, little word were to have an ‘accident’ would anyone care?
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