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Don’t you love it when sports journalism improves your vocabulary? Marmalise!

If you want to improve your communication skills and your writing, I encourage you to pay attention to eloquent sports coverage.


As a news journalist I once looked down on the sports department.

I thought sports journalism was a contradiction in terms.

Not any more! Well, not as far as rugby union writing and commentary is concerned anyway.

I have a fairly large vocabulary – yet I often learn useful new words when reading commentary about Rugby and especially the Rugby World Cup.

For example, today I learned a new word: marmalising.
…absolutely marmalising James Slipper in the scrum, repeatedly forcing him to lose his feet or his binding.

According to the Collins English Dictionary:

To marmalise is to beat soundly or defeat utterly; thrash

To me it sounds like pulverise.

The word can be spelled marmalise and even marmelize

As well as enjoying watching the rugby games, I learn from listening to the commentary and reading pre-game and post-game coverage.

Anyway, marmalise is a cool, new word (if you didn’t already know it) that you can throw into professional or social conversations.

I’ll teach it to my son who loves words that “sound cool”.

When I help sports people improve their communication skills when they want to move into sports commentary, I encourage them to improve their vocabulary with words that sound good and that sound a little different from commonly used words that get overused.

We also work on colourful expressions to describe things like speed and accuracy etc.

For example, there’s the famous quote attributed to Muhammad Ali and paraphrased by Rugby League great Jack Gibson:

I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.
Muhammad Ali

That guy is so quick, he can switch off the light and get into bed before the room is dark.
Jack Gibson

I understand that using colourful expressions is different from using unusual words such as marmalising.

My point is that you can make messages more memorable and set yourself apart from competitors by taking the time to build a vocabulary of words that sound good and expressions that are memorable.

I encourage sports journalists to do the same and build their vocabulary muscles.

Marmalise will definitely be added as an example of a strong word to use.

Here’s a link to the full article using marmalising:


Here’s a link to another post about the eloquence of rugby commentary.

the power of language in sports commentary and writing



rugby montage

If you write in your business OR if your are a sports person or sports official or commentator/writer and you’d like to improve your writing – I’d love to help. If you are a Rugby fan, we will get on famously. If you are from a different sport and not a Rugby fan – I will do my best to use sporting examples YOU can enjoy and relate to.

I strive to make business writing interesting and even entertaining.

In my journalism career, the most impressive sportspeople/ sports spokespeople I ever worked with were from Rugby Union and swimming and some tennis stars. Very professional communicators!

Some organisations realize their people need to improve their communication skills – and I’ve been privileged to have worked with and learned from many great sports people. One thing I am impressed by is their willingness to practise and put in the work/preparation and to take their communication tasks seriously.


One comment on “Don’t you love it when sports journalism improves your vocabulary? Marmalise!

  1. efangelist
    April 7, 2017

    Reblogged this on efangelist and commented:

    Another earlier post. This time of year my mind turns toward Rugby – and the clever commentary and writing and description!

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This entry was posted on October 27, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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