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  1. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Police Cordon": British, American, or Both?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Catrin Lewis, Jan 24, 2015.

    I'm thinking ahead in my romance-thriller to the scene where the authorities (alerted by my protagonists) confront the arch-antagonist. It hit me there would have to be some sort of police cordon around the area, so I looked up the term on Google for images of what that would entail-- barriers? cops shoulder to shoulder? miles of yellow and black tape? But all the links and images I got were from the UK.

    My novel takes place in the US, and this scene in particular is set up in the rural hills of an unnamed state in the lower Midwest-Upper South. British English wouldn't come into it. I'm an American who's spent a few years in Great Britain, which influences my vocabulary. And at the moment, some phrase using the term "police cordon" or "cordoned off" is the only term I can squeeze out of my brain to describe how the cops restrict the area.

    Were those Google results a fluke? Or have I suffered a vocabulary leak and do we have a different term in the US? If so, please remind me what it is. :oops:
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  2. Chinspinner

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try "police tape" or "barricade tape".
     
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    "Cordon" or "cordoned off" are also used in the U.S., so it won't be a problem to an American reader, in my view.
     
  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I've not heard 'police cordon' before (doesn't mean it's not used), but 'cordoned off' is common.
     
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  5. SwampDog

    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    If the authorities are confronting your arch-antagonist, then that supposes a physical police presence to form a human (police) cordon to protect a particular area. An example could be a hostage-taking situation and subsequent stand-off. If you are describing a cordon to protect a crime scene, for instance, to preserve evidence, then more likely you'd want to describe it as a cordoned/taped-off area.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  6. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Dammit, I was just on the way down here to say that!
     
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  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I watched the film Shooter (not very good), which is an American film, and Danny Glover's character used cordoned as a verb. It wouldn't have stood out to me but for this conversation.
     
  8. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    But can you find it used as a noun? Because I can't recall ever hearing or reading it as such.

    Edited to add: In American media, I mean.
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Now I'll have to go back and check that scene again. Contrary to what I wrote above, I think it was used as a noun. I remember when I watched it that it struck me that the usage was the one people were saying wasn't an American usage, but I'll verify that tonight. As an American myself, I don't find its use as a noun unfamiliar.
     
  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Actually I just found the script online and searched for the word "cordon." Here's the usage:

    "Standard Secret Service protective cordon is out to 880 yards."
     
  11. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Looks like it's good to use then.
     

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