Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day October 10, 2018 - 2:50pm

Here's one that's bothering me. Is a sports team referred to as singular or plural in this instance:

Toronto was a lock as a ten-point favorite over Detroit. 


Toronto were a lock as ten-point favorites over Detroit. 

(I'm thinking the latter but "were a lock" just doesn't sound right for some reason)

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 10, 2018 - 4:01pm

I say singular. It's a team, a team is one thing. (Not a team are one thing! That's ridiculous!)

Just like the army is. Not the army are.

Frankly, I hate when people say "data are" as well.

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman October 11, 2018 - 12:01pm

Grammar Girl says most American style guides advise treating team names as plural, even when they're not ("The Miami Heat are a lock"). However, they're singular when referred to by city ("Miami is a lock.") This is based on mostly newswriting style, which deals with the issue often.

However, British English does the plural thing with cities ("Miami are a lock."), and I'm not totally sure where that leaves Canada, for instance. 

You run into the same problem but a different answer with bands. In American English, "Lynyrd Skynyrd is awesome!" and "The Strokes are okay." When it comes to bands, American English goes with whether the name itself is plural. 

In British English "Lynyrd Skynyrd are awesome!" and "The Strokes are okay." The idea being that consistency is king.


Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 13, 2018 - 4:30pm

Ooo, wait, you're right. The Cubs are, but Chicago is. Shit, yeah, grammar girl for the win again.