adds a bit more emphasis to

So it just clouds the picture a bit, but similar to receiver Aaron Dobson last year when he didn't work out at the combine because of a hamstring injury, it just adds a bit more emphasis to their pro day and medical rechecks.
Source: Mailbag: Offseason approach remains in focus

I'd like to know if "add emphasis to something" and "add emphasis on something" have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I have never heard anyone say "add emphasis on something": I would consider it to be wrong.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Google hits:
    add emphasis to - 370k
    add emphasis on - 80k
    These figures are wildly inaccurate.

    You need to know how to search for Google results. The actual figures are shown on the last page of the search:
    add emphasis on: In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 234 already displayed.

    add emphasis to In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 300 already displayed.

    Then you should disregard this result as anyone can write any rubbish on the internet...

    The the next thing you need to do is go to Google Ngrams. This searches "millions of books" for the phrases and returns the result as a graph of frequwncy of occurrence of the phrase.
    To see the real results for
    add emphasis on,add emphasis to Click HERE <-

    You will see nobody uses "add emphasis on. :)
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    You are correct that some New York Times articles use "add emphasis on", but this is not a synonym of "add emphasis to". For example, a headline "BISHOPS REITERATE CONCERN FOR POOR BUT ADD EMPHASIS ON MIDDLE CLASS". They added to their statement an emphasis concerning the middle class, and did not add an emphasis to the middle class (which would actually be a meaningless statement).

    So it is not true that you will see that nobody uses "add emphasis on".
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    So it is not true that you will see that nobody uses "add emphasis on"
    If you look at the Ngram, you will find that nobody wrote the phrase until c.1934, and the total number of times it has been used is absolutely minuscule compared to "add emphasis on". It is the sort of phrasing that makes the reader stumble.

    To add is a verb of change/motion and requires a preposition that reflects this - onto could be suitable.
    For example, a headline
    I'm not sure headlines are the best example - they have their own style.
    Here is a example of straight prose taken from Onflow: Dynamics of Consciousness and ExperienceBy Ralph Jason Pred
    […], and the summary of crucial linkages between Whitehead and Edelman in section 7.5, indicate that one may well correlate the rather fine-grained details of the concrescual account with the rather fine-grained neurobiological details covered in Edelman’s extended TNGS, although to make the correlation work it is generally necessary to add emphasis on the notion of concrescence as involving integration of feelings in accord with subjective aim, on co-conscious transition, and to replace Edelman’s “time steps” with something more dynamic, organic, and experiential: the bud.
    in which “onto” would be better or even the verb.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I said
    So it is not true that you will see that nobody uses "add emphasis on".
    That is an accurate statement.

    I also pointed out that it is not a synonym of "add emphasis to". It really doesn't matter when it was first used or how frequently it is used. It also doesn't matter that it appeared in a NY Times headline. There are other examples in the body of NY Times articles and in text from other sources.

    YourWorldisNR, the two phrases have different meanings. As I said above, emphasis on means emphasis concerning. You could add emphasis to a section of text in a book by bolding, underlining or italicizing it. In a book about typography you could add emphasis on the use of bolding rather than underlining and italicizing.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "Mr. Sycip would tax spending; and where Government emphasis is on efficient revenue raising, he would add emphasis on efficient revenue spending." A.V.H. Hartendorp, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Manila - 1928.

    I'm confident that Andy is right about this.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "... he would add emphasis on efficient revenue spending" still sounds to me as if the speaker were not quite concentrating on what he was saying, misspoke, and meant to say "he would emphasise efficient revenue spending".
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    He did not misspeak. There was already emphasis on efficient revenue raising, he would add emphasis on efficient revenue spending. That is, not only emphasise efficient raising, but also emphasise efficient spending. It's an addition to existing policy. Changing to "he would emphasise efficient revenue spending" has a clearly different meaning.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    There was already emphasis on efficient revenue raising, he would add emphasis on efficient revenue spending.
    Then surely we would be looking at "BISHOPS REITERATE CONCERN FOR POOR BUT ADD GREATER EMPHASIS ON MIDDLE CLASS"./ ... he would add greater emphasis on efficient revenue spending."

    If yours were the case, we would need an explanation for the Google Ngram that I linked to in #6. Why then do you think the results for "add emphasis on" are so low and appeared so late in the evolution of the language?

    A reasonable explanation might be that infelicitous phrasing rarely gets much use but error are sometimes followed.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I really don't understand what you are going on about. The OP asked if two things meant the same. They don't. Does "add emphasis on" mean something? Yes, it does. Is it used? Yes. Is it used appropriately? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. Just because you find something "infelicitous" doesn't make it wrong.

    Of course, we can find errors everywhere on the internet.
    and the total number of times it has been used is absolutely minuscule compared to "add emphasis on"
    but error are sometimes followed
    :rolleyes:
     
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