Football language – extra time (1)

[Full match highlights]

Welcome back again!  (Need to catch-up?  1st half  |  2nd half)

Sentences describe actions that occur in space-time.  You can think of the ToB pentagram as a simple representation of space-time.

ToB is divided into the four space-time boundaries of ORIGIN (1st line from bottom), STATE (2nd line from bottom), DESTINATION (2nd line from top) and TRANSITION (top line).


In our football pitch image, look for the orange ebbles that go diagonally from bottom right to top left, those sitting on space-time boundary lines.  They will be main focus of this first half of extra time (before you read on: it is useful for the contents of the  2nd half of the game, which deals with “star players”, are fresh in your mind).

Here’s an example of each:

  • ORIGIN: the players come back from the changing rooms;
  • STATE: they take up position on the pitch;
  • DESTINATION: they drive forwards towards goal;
  • TRANSITION: to win this they must get through staunch defenders.

Secondary Complements

The items underlined are called complements.  They add detail, colour and depth to the sentence.  We have already come across primary complements in the 2nd half (the star players), so we’ll call these secondary complements.  

More technically, you can think of a complement as a noun or pronoun (i.e.: “pitch”) that is often preceded by a preposition (i.e.: “on”) and sometimes accompanied by an articles (i.e.: “the”) or one or more adjectives (i.e.: “muddy”).  

Let’s now take a look at each of these “complementary players” in more detail.

Warning: in all the ToB examples that follow, the red arrows just highlight the flow between the verb and the nouns and are not part of the actual notation.  The same goes for the wording in the red font.

Complements “of ORIGIN” (the right-back)


Many actions on the pitch start from deep defence.  In the same way a goal-scoring movement can be found to originate from the right-back, actions described in sentences are often accompanied by complements that provide insights on “origin”.   They provide answers to questions such as “from where?” (space),  “since when?” (time), or …”due to what?”.

You may ask: “what has ’cause’ to do with space-time?”.  Here are abstraction and metaphor at work, beautiful products of the human brain.  Think of space-time in a more abstract way and see how it can fit mode or mood: “he did something from experience” or “she sought revenge because of hatred“.  

Finally, you may recall that the star player in the space above the bottom line was the agent.  It It too belongs to the domain of “origin”.

Complements “of STATE” (the mid-fielder)


Mid-fielders form the natural “bridge” between defensive and attacking play.  The language equivalents are complements that describe “state”.  These great contributors to the meaning of a sentence  help to set the context: where is something or someone?  When did it happen?  In whose company or how (with whom or what)?

With complements “of state”, some of the most common prepositions that accompany the noun are: in, on, under, at, with.

The star-player that also belongs to the domain “of state” is the captain, a.k.a. the subject.  This is why it is positioned on the space just above the line.

Complements “of DESTINATION” (the forward)


In football, forwards work with the striker.  They are often at the receiving end of a pass from the mid-field.  In language, the complement “of destination” is often found with verbs of “movement”: “the player runs towards goal,  “the referee goes to the penalty spot“.

However, when dealing with mode or mood,  we encounter a more abstract type of destination, something that answer questions such as: “what for?”, “to what end?”.

You will have guessed by now that the object is the half-brother of the complement of destination, sharing with it the domain “of destination”.

Complements “of TRANSITION” (the left-wing)


This is the final and in some ways the most exciting space-time boundary: beyond “reaching a destination” is the ability to “penetrate”, to go “through”.  This is the realm of possibility, of change, of strife.  It is the domain “of transition”.

It is no coincidence that the star player that shares this domain with complements “of transition” is the indirect object, which could be described as the receiver of an “altruistic action”.

To sum it up

Space-time provides the backdrop for all communication.  Just about every concept or action you can talk about may be placed in one of the four ToB domains: ORIGIN, STATE, DESTINATION, TRANSITION.   This important grammatical categorisation is instantly visible through the position of the bubbles on the pentagram.

The game is almost over… the second half of extra time will deal with strange issues…. but will it go to penalties?!?

Want to try Tower of Bubble (ToB)? Download the Template | Cheat Sheet (Key Symbols)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s