How common is the expression 'to keep someone across' the news. Is this a new phrasal verb? I've noticed it mostly in the last four years on British news programmes, such as the BBC. It seems to mean that they will try to keep us informed of any developments in a news story. Has it appeared in any dictionary yet?

  • 3
    I don't recall ever hearing that (and I listen to BBC news fairly regularly). – Hot Licks Dec 7 '14 at 15:31
  • Do you ever hear We are keeping across Ken Anderson on this story? Or is it always keep X across? If the first sentence sounds terrible, and the second is normal, then it's not a phrasal verb, because it doesn't do Particle Shift. – John Lawler Dec 7 '14 at 15:46
  • It's probably extracted from an older expression: "Splashed, or splattered ACROSS the headlines", (I'd guess from flinging ink at paper) which was common when most people got their news from newspapers. (US) – Oldbag Dec 7 '14 at 15:49
  • It's usually 'we'll keep you across that story' or 'we'll keep across that for you.' – David Akempo Dec 7 '14 at 16:07
  • Listen to BBC World TV, I am getting quite tired of the phrase, one presenter just managed to use it twice in almost the same sentence! – user114116 Mar 18 '15 at 6:46

You heard "keep someone across" the news correctly. It is not so common (evidenced in part by the response you've received here) and you are not the first to wonder about it (as you can see in this wordsmith.org forum as well as this wordreference.com forum)

However, yes, it is currently being used; here are a couple examples (with links):

"Guardian Australia will be back on deck tomorrow to keep you across all the G20 news you can handle." - from the Guardian

"We keep you across events unfolding after yesterday's plane crash in eastern Ukraine." - from BBC World Service

There are several others you can find - all from UK, Australia, or NZ and all relatively recent - simply by Googling "keep you across" (with quotation marks) and hitting "news" (as oppposed to "web"). Interestingly, there are only three pages of results, which would suggest that the history of this expression (or, to be perfectly logical, the history of the use of the expression with "you"), is relatively brief.

The meaning in the examples you can find is, in almost all cases, "keep you abreast of" something, as defined in FumbleFingers post.

However, you will find it used in a slightly different sense here, in a review of LG's G Watch R, which is touted as a...

"...highly sophisticated heart-rate monitor that helps to keep you across your daily workouts." - ITWire

But no, you won't find it in dictionaries and it would seem, given the evidence, that we are witnessing the birth of a new expression. If anyone has evidence to show that this is, in fact a revival of an older expression, I'd love to see it!

  • It's quite common in England.... – Lambie Nov 11 '19 at 21:05

I suspect OP has simply misheard something like The BBC keeps you abreast of current affairs...

abreast 2: up to a particular standard or level especially of knowledge of recent developments
keeps abreast of the news

...or maybe one or more other people have made this mistake, which OP has noticed. It doesn't seem like a very justifiable "spatial metaphor" usage to me in this context. Noting OP's example usages in a comment, I would expect...

"We'll keep you abreast of that story"
"We'll keep on that for you"

As John Lawler points out, unless anyone is prepared to accept forms like "We are keeping across Ken Anderson on this story", it wouldn't actualy be a "phrasal verb" anyway, because it doesn't do Particle Shift.


It may have been invented by Adnan Nawaz. He uses it in every telecast. I always thought it was a mistake, but it seems he decided to go with it and make it a new normal.

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