Based On vs. Based Around
In a previous post, I wrote about the strange but trendy expression “to be based out of,” a phrase inexplicably used to mean “based in,” or “lives in.”
Now I’ve noticed another expression that uses base in a nonstandard way: “to be based around.”
The first time I noticed this odd usage was in a caption under a photo taken at a school event:
the event was based around The Sisters Grimm [a play].
I couldn’t understand why it didn’t say, “based on.”
A Google search indicates that the expression “to base something around something” is widespread. Here are a few examples in which the intended meanings seem to vary among derived from, modeled on, set in, having to do with, and plain old based on. Some are headlines.
Writing fanfiction based around a story you hate
How to make a story based around a character
The story is based around Maine.
Classic comedy based around shop in Doncaster
Worksheets and tasks based around the Shakespeare play.
This is a common problem with lesson plans based around websites
I want to write a book based around Monopoly
What are some books about based around being alone?
Dutch Artist Starting Religion Based Around Facebook Likes
Kids cartoon book based around a vegetable garden.
Used as a noun, “a base” is a foundation. Building on this meaning, the verb “to base” can have the following meanings:
- to make or form a foundation for something
- to serve as a base for something
- to establish or maintain a base for something
- to use as a base or basis for something
Something can be based on something, but to say that something is based around something makes no sense.