Michael Swan in his book http://ielts-house.net/Ebook/Vocabulary/Practical%20English%20usage.pdf (page 1) writes:

Commentaries on fast-moving events like football matches also have their own grammar. Less important verbs are often left out.

Goal kick ... And the score still Spurs 3, Arsenal 1 ... that's Pearce ... Pearce

to Coates ... good ball ... Sawyer running wide ... Billings takes it, through

to Matthews, Matthews with a cross, oh, and Billings in beautifully, a good

chance there - and it's a goal!

I am trying to decipher it and write all of the above in the traditional and full grammar with no words left out

It's a goal kick ... And the score has still been so that the Spurs has 3 goals, the Arsenal has 1 goal ... that's Pearce ... Pearce is heading

to Coates ... this is a good ball ... Sawyer is running widely ... Billings is taking it, THROUGH

TO Matthews, Matthews WITH A CROSS, oh, and Billings IN BEAUTIFULLY, it's a good

chance there - and it's a goal!

The Caps Lock words are the words I don't understand at all. They look like some random set of words... Is it correct what I added and how do I understand and write the Caps part?

  • 3
    The score is still Spurs 3, Arsenal 1. Nobody would spell out 'has 3 goals'. You couldn't be expected to know this, but 'Spurs' is the traditional nickname of the club called Tottenham Hotspur. I'll leave it to someone with more knowledge of football than I to translate the latter part. Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 16:43
  • 3
    Pearce passes to Coates ... Billings takes it (the pass) .. passes it through (presumably, between opposing players) to Matthews; Matthews passes it with a cross (a kick across the field) and Billings is in position beautifully, he has a good chance from there, and it's a goal. There's no reason to put the score in the perfect: it is still Spurs 2, Arsenal 1 (that is how the score would be said even when written in full). And Sawyer is running wide, not widely.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 16:53
  • 2
    This is not simply a matter of learning English—you must be familiar with the sport and its terminology as well. A snap in Australian football is completely unrelated to a snap in American football; a foul in basketball is rather different from one in baseball.
    – choster
    Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 19:37
  • 1
    I think @Colin Fine missed a bit. Pearce passes it to Coates: a good pass. Sawyer is running wide (not close to Coates; probably closer to the touchline than he is). Billings takes it etc. Commented Jun 30, 2020 at 1:06
  • Why do we say "Billings takes it" but "Sawyer is running wide" when both of them are happening now? When to use Present Simple and when to choose Present Continuous? Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


I have rewritten the sports commentary in the traditional and full grammar with fewer words left out than there were in the original text.

There was a goal kick just now. The Tottenham Hotspurs now have score 3 and Arsenal now have score 1. Pearce has the ball. Now, Pearce is trying to pass the ball to Coates. Now, Coates has the ball. Sawyer is running wide. Billings takes the ball. Now, Billings passes the ball through to Matthews. It is Matthews with a cross. Oh, and Billings is beautifully in position. Billings has a good chance of scoring a goal from there. Billings kicked the ball, and, the ball made it it into the goal.

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