Why do British and American English differ in this respect:


Southampton are eyeing up a ready-made replacement for Luke Shaw


Southampton is eyeing up a ready-made replacement for Luke Shaw

American sports journalism differs in their reference to teams. The American style is to treat the team as singular, whereas the British use plurals.

What are the rules in other variants of English (Aus, NZ etc.)?

  • 1
    Be careful ever to ask why when discussing (a) language ;)
    – oerkelens
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 17:14
  • 1
    Hasn't this been answered before? It's a well-known fact that UK English uses plurals for aggregate human nouns, where American English uses singulars: Congress has/Parliament have decided, Chicago has/Manchester have taken the field. As for why, nobody knows, any more than they know "why" UK English is non-rhotic, while American is rhotic. That's just the way it evolved. Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 18:02
  • 1
    ... You don't drink enough tea. Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 18:11
  • english.stackexchange.com/questions/12818/… Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


There is the common difference around collective nouns between American and British usage, but there is something interesting about this case in particular. American team names often (with very few exceptions) have a plural nick name which people refer to using plurals. So, Americans will say

The Yankees win


New York wins

Even though "Yankees" and "New York" refer to the same club. So, Americans distinguish between the team and the members on the team and change pluralization accordingly.

  • And even when the nickname is singular (the Jazz, the Magic), it often takes a plural verb. Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 18:51

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