The team ( wore - were wearing ) uniforms while they played the practice match.

I know they might both be right (they felt like they were both right) but which one feels more correct to you?


  • In AmE, using a plural verb for a group acting in concert is ungrammatical. – Spencer Apr 27 '17 at 2:24
  • I don't remember where i read this, but i believe i can say "the family want /wants to play." – ScorpionX108 Apr 27 '17 at 2:42
  • Since nouns denoting a group of individuals (such as team, class and family) are allowed to be used as plural while acting together in British English, you can say "the family wants to play" or "the family want to play" but this is to be singular in USA and elsewhere since all such nouns are grammatically singular in a strict sense of the term. – English Student Apr 27 '17 at 2:51
  • I might prefer were wearing because the conjunction while means "during the time that"; in other words it refers to the duration of an event, something that the progressive also does. – Arm the good guys in America May 27 '17 at 4:41
  • I might prefer "The team wore uniforms....". But either will work. And, yes, in AmE something like "the family want to play" sounds really (and I mean really) off. It would be "the family wants to play". – Kace36 Jul 26 '17 at 5:03

"The team wore" is good enough unless you have any special reason to use "were wearing." Why? Because 'they wore' matches the tense of 'while they played' which is simple past tense. That "keeps things simple."

The team wore uniforms while they played the practice match.

However it is not necessary that both verbs are of the same tense, as long as the combination of tenses is grammatically sensible.

By the way, as the member pointed out in comment, "the team" is often considered plural for these purposes in British English and generally singular in USA and elsewhere, so you need to keep that in mind while writing "the team were wearing...while they played" or choosing "the team was wearing"...while it played" -- and also take care to avoid mixing a singular with a plural!

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    So do the tenses HAVE to match, or is it just preferable ? So saying "the team were wearing uniforms while they were playing the match" is better than "they wore" in this case? – ScorpionX108 Apr 27 '17 at 2:57
  • Good question! The tenses dont HAVE to match, at least in this specific case. It is not necessary or even preferable here, and the choice is a matter of taste; the combination only needs to be grammatically correct. 'Wore(...)while they played' is simple and sounds good. 'Were wearing(...) while they played' is OK but only if you are particular. 'Were wearing(...)while they played' is better than 'were wearing(...)while they were playing' which may be grammatically correct but sounds tedious and awkward! – English Student Apr 27 '17 at 3:18
  • You are welcome! You can learn a lot more about the combination of tenses by searching under 'questions' on this website. – English Student Apr 27 '17 at 3:27

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