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Sports style minutae

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by toivo99, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. toivo99

    toivo99 Member

    I searched for this topic, couldn't find it. So if it's already here somewhere, feel free to torch this newbie.

    An argument for a long time between coworkers and I is this: Boys' basketball or boys basketball? The possessive, to me, assumes the basketball belongs to the boys.
    But then there's men's basketball. I'm confused. And the AP Stylebook has nothing on prep sports.
  2. captzulu

    captzulu Member

    I think the AP has some convoluted rule about this and it basically ends up being use "boys" but also use "men's". I just ignore the AP on that because I think it makes no sense. If you use the possessive in one case, you should be consistent and use it in all cases, and since no one says "men basketball", I always use boys'.
  3. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Seconded. Boys basketball sounds dumb.
  4. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Boys is descriptive, not possessive. It's not boys' basketball.

    And the reason you use the apostrophe with men's basketball is because men is plural, whereas boy is not. "Men basketball" doesn't make any sense.
  5. dargan

    dargan Active Member

    I always wrote "boys' basketball" until a few months ago. I talked to our ME and an English professor about it.

    Both said that the apostrophe is not needed because "boys" is an adjective describing "basketball," not a possessive showing ownership of the basketball. Same thing with "Atlanta Braves outfielder Andruw Jones...." I always thought that was "Atlanta Braves'....." until hearing the the adjective perspective from multiple sources.
  6. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Go without the apostrophe. Had a similar discussion with several SE's at an API conference. The general consensus was "boys basketball" because boys is modifying the type of basketball. The boys do not own the sport.

    In other words, what dargan said.
  7. captzulu

    captzulu Member

    Yeah, that's the rule I was referring to. But going by that rule, shouldn't we really say "men basketball" since the men don't own the sport either? Seems like in that case the only reason we don't is because it doesn't sound right. Then again, I've never heard any reader raise a stink about this issue either, so I've never felt strongly enough to fight for it one way or the other.
  8. Cansportschick

    Cansportschick Active Member

    You would post this thread up when I am doing a team tournament preview... ::)
  9. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I went with the possessive on boys' and girls' for a long time to be consistent with men's and women's.

    If I had to deal with it today, I'd say that there's no reason they have to be consistent, because one's singular and one's plural, and boys basketball and girls basketball is fine.
  10. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    Here's one I see a lot, including at our place:

    State College has a promising group of freshmen running backs.

    Should be freshman running backs.

    You wouldn't say sophomores running backs or juniors running backs.
  11. toivo99

    toivo99 Member

    So the general consensus is there is no general consensus. I was afraid of that happening.
  12. ServeItUp

    ServeItUp Active Member

    There rarely is, Toivo. Every paper where I've worked has run counter to AP Style on one minor count or another and it's one more damned thing I have to learn. Of course, I could stop moving around and stay in one place the rest of my career...
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