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  1. Banned
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    #1

    Question A Playoff(s) Spot

    Jaguars put consistency motto to test against problematic Texans - USATODAY.com
    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.
    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?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: A Playoff(s) Spot

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
    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?
    If the noun is normally used as a pural, it can be used as a premodifier in that form.

    Our team got through to the semi-finals last year. That was their first semi-finals appearance for nearly fifty years.

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    #3

    Re: A Playoff(s) Spot

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
    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?
    Where did you get this rule from? Most grammars give a more accurate and nuanced view of the issue.

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: A Playoff(s) Spot

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
    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 any case I agree with you Casey. It's a Teutonic tradition. No one would say "books shelf" or "recordings artist" or even "brains surgeon." In the Germanic languages, nouns are easily compounded, and when they are, they are made singular.

    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.

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    #5

    Re: A Playoff(s) Spot

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
    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?
    Yes, this looks like a typo. You earn a spot (or berth) in the playoffs. This would be a playoff spot.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: A Playoff(s) Spot

    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.

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    #7

    Re: A Playoff(s) Spot

    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.

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    #8

    Re: A Playoff(s) Spot

    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.

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    #9

    Re: A Playoff(s) Spot

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    In any case I agree with you Casey. It's a Teutonic tradition. No one would say "books shelf" or "recordings artist" or even "brains surgeon." In the Germanic languages, nouns are easily compounded, and when they are, they are made singular.

    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.
    How about Playoffs spot?

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    #10

    Re: A Playoff(s) Spot

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    How about Playoffs spot?
    To me, it's an error, or at least awkward. I asked about this sort of thing in BrE a few weeks ago, and everyone seemed to agree it was acceptable, but not as natural as the singular, in BrE. In AmE, it's so rare as to be strange.

    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.

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