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  1. #1
    PunctuationCrazed is offline Newbie
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    It's all academic

    what does it mean when a sportscaster says "It's all academic" at the tail end of a sports contest? Can you cite an example? Thank you.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: It's all academic

    Quote Originally Posted by PunctuationCrazed View Post
    What does it mean when a sportscaster says "It's all academic" at the tail end of a sports contest? Can you cite an example? Thank you.
    In any context, it means "It doesn't matter now" or "That makes no difference to the matter currently under discussion". In the sports context, it might refer to something like a team suddenly starting to play well towards the end of a match but, by then, it's too late, because the other team is so far ahead that the result is pretty much decided.

    Here's a couple of other contexts:

    Me: I've cancelled my party on Saturday evening.
    Friend: What? But I've bought a new dress.
    Me: Sorry.
    Friend: And I've told my boyfriend he can come.
    Me: Right.
    Friend: I was really looking forward to it.
    Me. OK. Well, I'm sorry but it's all academic now. I've cancelled it!

    John: I want to go on holiday to Spain this year.
    Jane: I've already booked our holiday. We're going to Cornwall.
    John: But I want to eat tapas, drink rioja and watch flamenco.
    Jane: I'm sure you do, darling, but that's academic. We're off to Cornwall for a couple of weeks of beer, pasties and rain!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. #3
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: It's all academic

    The idiom comes from the common habit of professors, also known as "academics", of studying phenomena that have no apparent application to everyday life. In sports it means that while the issue at hand may be interesting to specialists, it won't influence either team's final standing.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. #4
    Lynxear's Avatar
    Lynxear is offline Senior Member
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    Re: It's all academic

    Quote Originally Posted by PunctuationCrazed View Post
    what does it mean when a sportscaster says "It's all academic" at the tail end of a sports contest? Can you cite an example? Thank you.
    I agree with the others on this idiom.

    Often you run across a situation where an event happens and there is a strong discussion about it. This idiom could be used by someone to bring an end to this discussion, there is little point to the discussion since nothing will be changed through it. Also the game is moving on so they must continue following the game.

    Saying that the discussion is academic means that the discussion may continue later on for experts that are interested in this point but it is time to move on.

    Example:

    Sportscaster #1: Did you see that! he could have really hurt that guy playing like that!
    Sportscaster #2: Yes, it is possible but nothing happened, so let's move on.
    Sportscaster #1: What do you mean nothing happened? He was this close to stepping on his head and it is not the first time he has pulled this stunt.
    .....
    ..... (more discussion)
    .....
    Sportscaster #1: Look, it is all academic now, no penalties were assigned and play is starting again... let's get back to the game.


    A very similar idiom is to say that a "point is moot" or "moot point" meaning currently nothing is solved continuing the discussion but it may be debated later by others if they wish.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: It's all academic

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynxear View Post
    "moot point" meaning currently nothing is solved continuing the discussion but it may be debated later by others if they wish.
    This may be the current meaning to many, but a moot question started life with a different meaning- it was a question where the answer had not been determined and was open to debate. The point may have been lost in the insignificance of some questions, but moot points are still open, which is why lawyers still have moot cases as part of their training.

  6. #6
    Lynxear's Avatar
    Lynxear is offline Senior Member
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    Re: It's all academic

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    This may be the current meaning to many, but a moot question started life with a different meaning- it was a question where the answer had not been determined and was open to debate. The point may have been lost in the insignificance of some questions, but moot points are still open, which is why lawyers still have moot cases as part of their training.
    Yes, I agree that this may still be the meaning in formal language. However, in common speech, at least in Canadian English, it is rare that a "moot point" is ever discussed later. It is usually used to end a discussion that cannot be resolved and the speaker wants to move on to something else.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: It's all academic

    It's true- it has become something of an auto-antonym.

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