Saturday, December 13, 2008

Based out of

I think this is a relatively new usage. At least, I don't remember hearing it until just a few years ago.

For example, someone might say that the New York Times is a newspaper based out of New York. Really? So where is it actually based? Indianapolis? No, it's not based out of New York, it's based in New York.

I suppose the idea is that it operates all over and isn't limited to New York. But based in doesn't imply anything of the sort. We might as well stop saying that the capital of the United States is Washington, DC and instead say that the U.S. government is based out of Washington.

And now I must leave the house out of which I'm based and go driving all over the damned place to do the Saturday shopping.


Travis Erwin said...

I'd take it to mean the home base is one place but a lot of the work is performed elsewhere.

David said...

That would make sense if people used the phrase selectively. I never see "based in" used at all, only "based out of".

Or maybe that's selective perception on my part - I see what bothers me and don't notice what doesn't.

TGirsch said...

I don't really hear "based out of" all that much, but I do hear "out of" a lot. "Operates out of" is more common, from what I hear. But I think it's just the "out of" phrase that's become common, and has spread to other uses.

Example of common usage: Brett Favre is a 17th-year quarterback out of Southern Mississippi.

David said...

It's a different issue, but this reminds me of how common the unnecessary use of of is. (Did I just write that?)

E.g., in back of instead of behind, or outside of instead of outside.

On the other hand, atop has faded away, so you have to say on top of.

TGirsch said...

Oddly enough, you'll still hear "atop" a lot in sports news. As in, "the Giants stayed atop the NFC East standings despite their bad loss to Dallas..."

TGirsch said...

Oh, and "outside of" is used in one of my favorite Groucho Marx jokes, so I vote to keep it in the language. :)

David said...

The one about a book and man's best friend? Well, geniuses are allowed to use the language any way they want.