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Linguistics professor explains how ‘excited about’ became ‘excited for’

A note left for Ross Stevenson’s son has got the 3AW Breakfast host thinking.

The note asks if Hugh is ‘excited for’ school.

Ross was under the impression that people should be ‘excited about’ school, as the phrase ‘excited for’ means you are excited on someone’s behalf.

The note in question.

The note in question.

Ross and John called upon linguistics professor Kate Burridge to explain whether or not the two are now interchangeable. 

‘Interesting things are happening to prepositions, they are changing – like any aspect of language,’ Ms Burridge said.

‘The only languages that don’t evolve in this way are dead.’

Ms Burridge said it is probably coming through from American English.

She also defended using the word ‘versing’ when describing who a football team is playing against on the weekend.

It came about using a common method of language evolution called backformation, which is also the reason we have verbs such as ‘beg’ and ‘edit’.

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