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  1. #1
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    Default England show or shows?

    I own a cricket website - AussieCricket.net - and I like to use correct English. Having finished school in 1961, some of my recollections re. English usage are fading.
    I notice another high profile site uses such headlines like: England show New Year fight, Australia make England pay for misplaced courage, Scotland name WCL squad, Somerset confirm Langer deal etc.
    Seems to me the correct English should be 'shows', 'makes', 'names' and 'confirms'.
    Which is correct or more correct?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: England show or shows?

    Welcome, Donny , and a Happy New Year!

    Australia are 2 for 137. <Plural - considered individually>
    Australia is 2 for 137. <Singular - considered as a unit.

    A collective noun can be singular or plural depending on the sense of the sentence.

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    Default Re: England show or shows?

    Thanks Casiopea.

    I understand the 'is' and 'are' situations you described but that wasn't really what I was asking about.

    If the headline reads, "England players show the way", the show looks correct but if it's "England show the way", it doesn't.

    Similarly, "Australian quicks make England pay for misplaced courage" looks correct but "Australia make England pay ... " doesn't.

    Clarification please.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: England show or shows?

    In British English, the plural is more common than in American English. I notice that the BBC use the plural and refer to the teams as 'they'. Cricket Australia uses both forms, so I think it is, as Caiopea says, a question of whether you see them as a unit or players. On the Cricket Australia site, there's a headling 'England skittled for 291 runs'- would that sound better to you with 'was' or 'were? As a BrE speaker, I would use 'were'. Users in your forum also seem to be using both.

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    Default Re: England show or shows?

    Thanks Tdol

    Once again, I'm not concerned about the reference: "England were or was dismissed"

    My question was specifically referring to the headlines I mentioned. I don't particularly insist on my members using correct English (although it would be nice ) but I write the headlines on the homepage and would like to be correct.

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    curmudgeon is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: England show or shows?

    Headline writing does not always comply with the ordinary rules of grammar. The idea being to grab attention (I'm sure you know this )

    so AUSTRALIA TIGHTENS GRIP ON ASHES looks good to me
    or perhaps AUSTRALIANS TIGHTEN GRIP ON ASHES.

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    Default Re: England show or shows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I notice that the BBC use the plural and refer to the teams as 'they'.
    Here's something interestesting. There's a choice - but not for sports.

    It is the policy of BBC Radio News that collective nouns should be plural, as in The Government have decided. Other departments, such as BBC Online, have resolved that collective nouns should always be singular, as in The Government has decided. BBC Television News has no policy and uses whichever sounds best in context. The difficulty for writers comes because there is no rule - collective nouns can be either singular or plural.


    The advice from Radio News is fine, but think about what you are saying. A lot depends on whether the organisation is seen as a singular entity or as a collection of individuals.


    It is more natural to write The committee park their cars in the field rather than The committe parks its cars because the committe is being thought of as separate people. It would also be correct to write The committee has decided to ban cars from the field because it is being seen as a single body.


    [Bla-bla-bla]


    In sports, teams are always plural.


    Source: THE BBC NEWS STYLEGUIDE pp31-32

  8. #8
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    Default Re: England show or shows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donny View Post
    Seems to me the correct English should be 'shows', 'makes', 'names' and 'confirms'.

    Which is correct or more correct?
    According to the University of Auckland, on the topic Australian English, the rule is collective noun + singular verb. Which is the same as American English (AmE) and different from British English (BrE).

    However, according to another site, which seems familiar with what I've read recently about AuE borrowings from AmE, collective noun + plural verb was, at one time, the Standard but has since changed and is no longer as common as the Commonwealth once was.

    In the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries, the tendency is to always use the plural form of the verb:

    "The Football League are unanimous in their support of the prohibition of alcohol at international matches."

    "The BBC are remiss in not cancelling this vapid programme."

    This technique appears to be disappearing from ordinary usage in the UK, but I have heard enough examples to convince me that, at least, it was once the case.
    In short, know your audience.

    Here's what an Australian (AuE) speaker had to say on the issue of "Australia have/has?":
    The collective noun situation is an area in which AuE most differs with present UK usage, although journalese and the absence of the teaching of grammar in recent years has tended to erode the difference.

    Nevertheless, it is still extremely rare in Australia to hear or see "England have" or "Australia have", as both the names of countries and the teams which represent them are considered singular nouns.

    So it would have been correct at the time to say "England has just managed to win the Rugby Union World Cup with a last-minute field-goal" and "Australia was robbed".

    Source, Thommo Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:50 am GMT
    Hope that helps.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: England show or shows?

    I really appreciate the responses but, with the greatest respect, I'm NOT asking about whether it should be 'Australia has won' or 'Australia have won'. This aspect I understand.

    I'd rather not have to repeat my query. Can someone please respond to my original post?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: England show or shows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donny View Post
    England show New Year fight,
    Australia make England pay for misplaced courage,
    Scotland name WCL squad,
    Somerset confirm Langer deal
    etc.

    Seems to me the correct English should be 'shows', 'makes', 'names' and 'confirms'.

    Which is correct or more correct?
    Both singular and plural forms are equally correct. One's AmE, the other BrE.

    If you subscribe to American English grammar rules, then 'shows, makes, names, and confirms' are correct.

    If you subscribe to British English grammar rules, then 'show, make, name, and confirn' are correct.

    In the UK, the city or country names by which British newspapers refer to soccer teams are used as plurals a practice that seems odd and inconsistent to American ears: "A minute's silence will precede the game at Le Stadium today, when Toulouse play Munster, and tomorrow at Lansdowne Road, when Leinster attempt to reach their first European final by beating Perpignan" [report in the online London Times].)
    Source

    The choice is up to you, Donny. It's your site.

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