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Special teams: Has or have?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by KYSportsWriter, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    Given this context: "Not to mention the special teams, which have produced three scores."

    Is it have or has?
  2. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Well-Known Member

    I'd say "have" because special teams could include kick return and punt return (as well as extra-point, kickoff and punt teams, but getting a touchdown from those would be a rare occurrence), which means a plural reference.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    From the AP stylebook on "couple," which is often confusing in this same way:

    - When used in the sense of two people (or units), the word takes plural verbs and pronouns. "Special teams have ..."

    - When used in the sense of a single unit, use a singular verb. "Special teams has"

    Now, I don't know if that applies the same way to "special teams" as it does to "couple," but it might. But if it does ... then if you're talking about one special teams unit, like the kick return team, you'd use singular (or "has"). But if you're talking about special teams as a whole, you'd use plural (or "have").

  4. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    "Not to mention" ... then don't mention it.
  5. azom

    azom Member

    I think in this case it'd be have. If you're referring to a single unit, why not just refer to the unit?

    "The punt team has given up five touchdowns." -- punt team only

    "Special teams have given up five touchdowns." -- punt, kickoff, field goal

    At least that's how it makes sense to me, but I don't writ English so good.
  6. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    Makes sense to me.
  7. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    Knew that was coming.
  8. Pancamo

    Pancamo Active Member

    Ask Emmitt Smith.
  9. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Defense has. Offense has. Special teams has.
  10. Bucknutty

    Bucknutty Member

    I write "special teams unit has."
  11. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Ah, sorry, Bucknutty, but a solution that adds a word doesn't do much for me.

    And Rhody, can't agree with you, either. Offense is a single thing. Defense is a single thing. Special teams are several things (hence the plural). Kicking and punt teams, kick return and punt return teams, field goal team.

    You could go the whole "collective" business, but I think "special teams have" is most intuitive and sounds best. If it's not all of them, then specify which unit of special teams it is and use the singular.

    But, like a lot of this stuff, as long as you pick a style and stick with it across the board, that's the key.
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