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  1. #1
    retro's Avatar
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    who referring to teams

    Sportswriters usually use 'who' when referring to teams.

    Here's one example:
    "The struggling Ottawa Senators hope to strengthen their tenuous hold on a playoff spot Thursday when they visit the Toronto Meaple Leafs, who've beaten them four straight times."

    Sometimes 'which' is used instead and I wonder if teams can be treated as a persons. Is it the same situation when 'whom' should be used as the object of a verb or preposition though some say 'who'?

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    Re: who referring to teams

    It is not clear what you are asking. Can you give some sentences that show what you are referring to?

  3. #3
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    Smile Re: who referring to teams

    Quote Originally Posted by retro View Post
    Sportswriters usually use 'who' when referring to teams.

    Here's one example:
    "The struggling Ottawa Senators hope to strengthen their tenuous hold on a playoff spot Thursday when they visit the Toronto Meaple Leafs, who've beaten them four straight times."

    Sometimes 'which' is used instead and I wonder if teams can be treated as a persons. Is it the same situation when 'whom' should be used as the object of a verb or preposition though some say 'who'?
    Well, sports commentators are not noted for grammatical correctness.

    To answer the question as you asked it -- teams really are things. They should not be treated as persons. However, using "which" sounds awkward. So, "who" is used instead.

    We have a very skilled commentator here, locally, and he'd much more likely word your example thus:

    The struggling Ottawa Senators hope to strengthen an already tenuous hold on a playoff spot when the team plays next Thursday in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. The Leafs won the last four consecutive games against the Senators.

    However, the local chap is unusually linguistically skilled. He also has the influence of French to consider -- in the sense that commentators here are usually bilingual. Grammar frequently has a higher place in languages other than English. Sad to say, but true!

    Hope this helps.

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    Re: who referring to teams

    I lament that what you say about the lax manner, if not disregard for grammar is so prevalent in English speakers - and is even encouraged at times in this forum!!
    However, I think what is happening when the commentator says:

    "...the Toronto Meaple Leafs, who've beaten them ..."

    is not so much a case of slovenly grammar, but 'keeping it human'. What I mean by this is: it may be a team - Toronto Maple Leafs - but I bet fans know every name of every player on that team and has strong feelings one way or another about their contribution to the team! When they think about, and refer to 'the team', they are really thinking about the team players. For fans, a commentator's reference of the kind: "...Toronto Maple Leafs. It has played 10 games since their win over..." IT !? IT!!?
    Correct grammar but our team is no IT !

    What is understood as being said in your quote is:
    the players for the Toronto Meaple Leafs, who've beaten them

    the players on the Toronto Meaple Leafs team, who've beaten them

    This isn't an example of 'synecdoche' or 'metonymy'. I wonder if anyone in the forum knows a technical term for the above?
    Last edited by David L.; 04-Apr-2008 at 09:31.

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