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Verb agreement with team names

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by austinsportsguy, May 23, 2016.

  1. austinsportsguy

    austinsportsguy New Member

    Just to make sure.

    All teams should be regarded as plural, right? Giants win, Harvard Crimson win, Heat win, Crew win, etc.

    And constructions like this — SF Giants baseball starts — are singular. (Edited this just now to fix... accidentally wrote plural before. I did mean plural in the first graph's example, however.)

    Let me know if you agree. Thanks.

    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  2. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    If you follow the AP Stylebook, yes. AP says collective nouns (as in bands and teams) take plural verbs. However, some newspapers — some very large newspapers, in fact — insist that a singularly named team takes a singular verb (e.g., Jazz wins division title). I think they're wrong, and that it grates against the ear, but it's not a cardinal sin.

    AP also generally follows the format you mention in your second example, but not exclusively. There are plenty of papers that still say things like "Wildcat football coach John Smith" but it really should be "Wildcats coach." Again, it's not something worth taking up torches and pitchforks (although I'll change it every time).

    We've also discussed this topic before ... might be helpful to do a topic search in this forum to see how members have weighed in.
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
    austinsportsguy likes this.
  3. JR119

    JR119 Member

    I completely agree.

    However, some media outlets treat Jazz, Heat, etc. ... as singular, which is fine (in my mind) as long as those shops are consistent.

    Surprisingly at my last shop most of the writers and some of the editors had no clue about this rule. I was stunned at first. It seemed the bosses didn't know or care about the rule.

    The singular/plural rule was one of the first things drilled into our brains when learning about sports journalism. I had one college course where screwing it up would cost a paper a full grade -- nowadays, just shrug it off and retwrite/retweet the latest viral trend.

    My last shop continues to make this error, plus I often notice other publications and websites failing on the rule, too (but thankfully, Travis Clay loves to rip people for not knowing the difference between "your" and "you're" when he has no clue about singulars and plurals).

    Now get off my lawn!!
    austinsportsguy likes this.
  4. austinsportsguy

    austinsportsguy New Member

    I agree with your Wildcats example, Tampa Tribune. Giants baseball manager, not Giant baseball manager.

    But "Giants baseball starts new season" —that would be singular.

    Consistency should be the key, but if ESPN can get AP style right, why not print guys?
  5. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    No. That's a grammar issue. In this case, "baseball" is the collective noun with "Giants" an adjective. "Baseball," as a larger entity, starts a new season. Baseball is a great sport. Baseball is a ticket out of poverty for some players. Etc.

    But it would be "Giants" and not "Giant."
  6. austinsportsguy

    austinsportsguy New Member

  7. Southwinds

    Southwinds Member

    Our shop has singular nouns take singular verbs: Giants win game, Lightning wins game, etc.

    It would be "Giants baseball starts new season" in the same way that if you drop the adjective, "Giants," you would never write "baseball start new season."

    Also will throw in the name-as-identifier argument, as in, don't do it. Someone is not a Giant or a Packer or a Roadrunner. Why? Same reason they're not a Lightning or a Heat or a Jazz or a Thunder: It's a team name, not a noun.
  8. This is one of those issues where you most certainly can blame soccer, which does it wrong all the time.
  9. austinsportsguy

    austinsportsguy New Member

    Appreciate the feedback here, Southwinds and Tampa Tribune. I agree, Southwinds. Posey isn't a Giant, he's the Giants catcher.
  10. austinsportsguy

    austinsportsguy New Member

    SportsHack, I can usually blame soccer for anything and everything.
  11. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    Another contribution from Old Blighty to our language, of course. I've grown so accustomed to hearing "England are" and "Arsenal are" from their commentators that it's not even jarring anymore.
  12. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    Yeah, I have a problem getting that one down, especially when its a sport with boys and girls teams. Wildcats boys coach, Wildcat boys coach or Wildcats' boys coach? People at my shop always try to sneak the last one through, but I usually change it if I can.
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