In a previous post, I’ve commented on the media’s peculiar preference for using the phrase ‘ahead of’ when they mean ‘before’ – even though it’s not in common usage among any other native speakers of English.
The record number of instances I’ve seen so far came in a Guardian website report on England’s pathetic performance in the 4th test match against Australia, where ‘ahead of’ appears in the headline, one of the sub-headlines and four more times in the article that follows.
Is this the 21st century version of longstanding proofreading problems at the Grauniad?
Or, given that the article is unsigned, could it be that it was written by a robot that’s been programmed to convert ‘before’ into ‘ahead of’ by another robot who can’t speak English either?
If you can bear it, here are the six specimens that that put the Graunaid ahead of everyone else in this particular race.
Ravi Bopara among five players sent back to counties ahead of fifth Test
• England No3 seeks form with Essex ahead of Ashes decider
'The England batsman Ravi Bopara, whose place in the side is under scrutiny after scoring 105 runs in seven innings, will receive an opportunity to rediscover some form with Essex ahead of the Ashes decider at The Oval.'
'.. managing director, Hugh Morris, said in a statement. "We are aware that we underperformed with bat and ball at Headingley and this decision is designed to give players an opportunity to spend time in the middle and get overs under their belt ahead of the decisive fifth Test at The Oval next week."
'Miller was also forced to defend the decision to omit Andrew Flintoff from the side for the fourth Test, insisting it was right to put the advice of England's medical team ahead of the all-rounder's wishes.'
'He will see a specialist today ahead of a decision on his fitness for the decisive Oval encounter ..'
As for which side comes out ahead of the other, we won't know before the final test match comes to an end.