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Sports writer looking for Grammar help

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Vincent Miracle, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    It seems confusing, but there's logic behind it.

    "Two" home runs ... is just a number. But "3 for 4 at the plate" is a statistic.

    "Smith gained seven yards on first down, taking the ball to the 3." "seven" is a number -- the number of yards. But "3" is the yard marker on the field.
  2. NNDman

    NNDman Member

    Another excellent thread thanks primarily to HandsomeHarley.
    HandsomeHarley likes this.
  3. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    Thanks, NND. Wish some in our newsroom respected wisdom and skills!

    Here's another slight annoyance to consider: You cut a deficit, not a lead.

    "The Cowboys cut the lead to six." Ungh-uh.

    One of my biggest challenges: How the hell do you spell the word for someone shaking their head no? I used to love reading Calvin and Hobbes (who didn't!?) because every once in a while, Watterson would throw a word in there that you've likely never seem spelled, such as "Hocch!" to cough up a loogie.
    franticscribe likes this.
  4. NNDman

    NNDman Member

    What are your thoughts about "that." he said that.. She said that.....
  5. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    I think that if you read the sentence and it sounds better with the word in it, go with it.

    However, I think it is used too often.

    See what I did there? ;)
  6. NNDman

    NNDman Member

    Do you go with boys' basketball or boys basketball. I see it both ways, mostly the latter.
  7. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    To be correct, it should be boys' basketball. It is basketball of the boys. But it's been used so commonly the other way, I've reached the point where I look right through it.

    And since it's the time of the season ... hand off is a verb. Handoff is a noun. And hand-off is nothing but incorrect.
  8. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    Grammatically, it should be "boy's" and "girl's" when they are adjectives. But the AP engrained it into the heads of many old-timers until "boys" and "girls" became accepted and preferred. Now I use "boys" and "girls".

    The hand off/handoff thing was mentioned earlier. There are literally dozens of words/phrases that are two words (or hyphenated) when verbs and one word when nouns. When I began compiling a list a while back, I realized that they pretty much are all prepositional words.
  9. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    I racked my brain and actually came up with a scenario where "hand-off" would be hyphenated, but even I admit it's a stretch:

    "Smith turned over the ball on a hand-off fumble."

    Yeah, I know -- none of us would write something that ridiculous, but if we did, then yes, it would be hyphenated, because it becomes an adjective.
  10. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    The above scenario reminded me of what some editors call "marrying your phrase," "don't break up your phrase," or the more common, "don't split prepositions."

    "Smith turned the ball over ..." is technically incorrect, because you're splitting the preposition by separating "turned" and "over."

    "Smith turned over the ball ..."
  11. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    Yeah, you're right there on both counts. That would be correct, and we would never write it.
  12. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Grammatically, your second sentence will be stronger with "ingrained." :)
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