In the sentence: The team could not win the match because it was split into two groups.

The correction given is: The team could not win the match because they were split into two groups.

According to me, "team" is a single entity which was split into two, so that should not be incorrect. Am I missing something?


2 Answers 2


Both examples are correct. The team can be conceived of as a single entity, or a multiplicity, because it contains a set of readily divisible parts, which we may perceive as being divisible, but perhaps also indivisible, as takes our fancy or suits the situation.

Thus, if we believe the team to be divisible and separate entities, then: "they were split".

If, on the other hand, we believe the team to still be part of one larger entity, even when split: "it was split".

Essentially in the latter case the team has been divided into subsections, but we may still say the team was split...


Both are correct. "It was" refers to the team being split into two groups, whereas "they were" refers to its members being split into two groups.

I think your version is easier to parse, because the reader doesn't need to infer that "they" refers to the members of the team, whereas "it" obviously refers to the team.

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