Student or Learner
Jaguars put consistency motto to test against problematic Texans - USATODAY.com
In "a playoffs spot", shouldn't "playoffs" be singular, since a time-honored rule holds that a noun must be in singular form when it is used as a pre-modifier of another noun?In 2004, the Jaguars had a chance to secure a playoffs spot against Houston in late December, but they came out flat, lost 21-0 and were knocked out of the postseason picture.
Some cases exist where people don't follow the "time-honoured" tradition, but in many of these, it's just a case of sloppy writing.
I have no trouble with playoffs. A spot in the playoffs = a playoffs spot. A win in th semi-finals is a semi-finals win. I agree with that one too. These are exceptions to the guideline of using the singular noun. A store that sells shoes is a shoe store. A company that makes umbrellas is an umbrella factory.
The noun I always use as my example when saying "it's a guideline, not rule" is "sports."
Sports arena, sports car, sports fan. (Not sport, in the US.)
I consider this another good example of an exception to that guideline.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
Nobody here has been entirely wrong. But if you look in the corpora and google, you find there are over one thousand times more "playoff spot" (s) than "playoffs spot" (p), and there's a reason for that.
In my experience and opinion, they would be singular.
- He won a place in the semi-finals.
- He won a semi-final place.
- He's through to the quarter-finals.
- He'll be making his fourth quarter-final appearance on Sunday.
Last edited by emsr2d2; 21-Aug-2011 at 11:37.
In any case, in online news media, one sees tons of typos these days, so there's no guarantee the Texas article quoted is a reflection of Texas English.