inning and innings, outing and outings

On  Saturday evening I went for an outing to a baseball game. This is slightly unusual in Australia (there is a baseball competition, but it is almost unknown) and very unusual for me (I would not otherwise go to a baseball game, except …).

Last year I semi-did a course in photography on Coursera (I watched the videos and did the standard quizzes, but didn’t pay money to do the assessment quizzes and submit my photos for peer review). A few weeks ago one of the lecturers (a professor of photography at a university in the USA) emailed people in Australia who’d done the course, saying that he would be in Australia in late Dec-early Jan and was planning a trip to the baseball. (Which makes about as much sense as me travelling to the USA and going to a cricket match, but his son is involved with the baseball team here.) Seven photographers and three hangers-on attended. We had a short session together, then wandered around taking photos before and during the game. After some time, we each had a one-on-one with the lecturer, and he said some seriously nice things about my photos.

Photos first, then language:


Language: several times, I had to use the word inning, which grates on my Australian English usage. In cricket, the term is innings, which is singular and plural: in one-day cricket, each team gets one innings; in multi-day matches, each team gets two innings. Inning is the older form, and simply meant “an instance of going in”, which was presumably first used in a context other than sport. At some stage during the development of cricket, two innings turned into one innings. Innings (singular) was originally used in baseball, but at some stage during the development of baseball, one innings turned into one inning. I could have just said “one innings” and coped with whatever reaction the baseball fans gave. (Most of them were Australian, so they must be aware of the cricket usage.) 

At the back of the stadium was a sign pointing to the beer garden. The only unusual thing about that was that there were two arrows, one for beer and one for garden. But there wasn’t a [garden], only a [beer garden], which is not, in fact, a garden, but an open deck alongside left field. 


Related to this are outings. Outing is only ever singular and outings are only ever plural.


3 thoughts on “inning and innings, outing and outings

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