"off-the-record" and "on-the-record" Question 1: Trump is heading over to the Times' head quarters..... Why did the author use an "over" between "head" and "to"? Isn't "head to" also correct? Question 2: He will meet with our publisher off-the-record and that session will followed by an on-the-record meeting with our journalists and editorial columnists. What does "off-the-record" and "on-the-record" mean? Thank you.
Nov 23, 2016 6:07 PM
Answers · 6
The reason for off-the-record & on-the-record. Imagine that you work for John and you know that John is hurting people. If you tell a reporter "John is a very bad man" on-the-record, the reporter can put in the newspaper: Youkoufiona said "John is a very bad man." And you'll get fired or worse. If you tell the reporter "John is a very bad man" off the record, then the reporter knows to try to find some other proof that John is hurting people, but in the meantime you get to keep your job.
November 23, 2016
Hi youkoufiona, Both are correct, head to and head over to. But we sometimes say "head over to" to give the impression that our destination is close by. For example, "I'm going to head over to see my friend now". Your friend is close by. However, "I will head to the shops". Those shops could be anywhere, but if you said "I'm going to head over to the shops", it gives me the impression that the shops are really close by. "Off-the-record meeting" means that the meeting is not official and therefore the media won't report it, whereas an "on-the-record" meeting means that the meeting is official and the media will report it. I hope this helps! Sinead
November 23, 2016
You're right, the 'over' is not needed. Some writers have a tendency to use too many words - it is more difficult to write concisely. These are terms used when dealing with the media. If you are on the record, than whatever you say to the journalist can be reported and quoted with you as the source. Off the record means you can talk to the journalist, and he/she will not report you as the source. In practice, the latter is not a good idea...
November 23, 2016
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