The result means that Sunday's match between India and West Indies becomes a semi-final, but more importantly, it means that West Indies have managed to inject some much-needed pride into a tour that has gone horribly wrong from the start.

After two disastrous Test matches and a couple of below-par performances in the tri-series so far, few would have given them a semblance of a chance against tournament favourites Sri Lanka. West Indies needed to ring the changes and quickly, if they were to put up a fight. And change they did.

I have learnt to say ring the changes on something.

The company ought to ring the changes on their products to be competitive.

Would you write 'the company ought to ring the changes as soon as possible' ?
In the above, you will read the words ring the changes. Is it correct?

I'd just say 'ring the changes', 'on something' sounds wrong to me.

I think it derives from ringing (church) bells.

Best wishes, Clive
Hello Rotter

As you probably know, 'to ring the changes' derives from bell-ringing. The bells are rung in sequences (changes); each bell must be rung only once in the sequence. To form the next sequence, one bell is moved ('changed') to a new position in the ringing order.

If you have three bells, for instance, this would be one possible set of changes:


Metaphorically, the phrase means 'to present the same set of things in a variety of ways'.

So your example (the company ought to ring the changes on their products to be competitive) means that the company must stick to one set of products, but market them in rotation. Or alternatively, it might mean that the company must keep modifying its products slightly. Either way, it doesn't sound very innovative. Presumably the company should produce at least some new products too.

Your second example (the company ought to ring the changes as soon as possible) sounds a little strange. Since you would not literally 'ring the changes' as soon as possible, you can't do so metaphorically either.

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I thank both of you for the replies

Mr Pedantic, would you agree that the original article on cricket is incorrect? I mean just to say ring the changes is not correct.
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Hello Rotter

In a cricketing context, you might experiment with the batting order, over a series of games. That might be a suitable use of 'ringing the changes' (e.g. 'ring the changes on the batting order').

But if the journalist simply means 'make some changes', or 'do something different', the metaphor isn't entirely appropriate. There has to be a possible sense of 'trying out permutations' in the context.

Mr Pedantic

To say ring the changes on the batting order is 100% correct. It seems you know cricket. Many of our American frinds don't know the nitty-gritty of cricket.