02 March 2012

Pluralism is Stupid

The latest evidence for this (admittedly politically charged) statement comes from a Grantland article that ranks the top 12 teams in college basketball right now. The entry on eighth-ranked Marquette yields this gem:

Before it lost to Cincinnati on Wednesday, Marquette was one of the hottest teams in college basketball, and they was in contention for a 2-seed in the NCAA tournament.

Seriously? Before it lost, they was in contention?

Now, I'm poking fun at Mark Titus with this point - I'll (generously?) assume that the grammatical issues his article seems to be having are just a function of a typo or an impending deadline - but there's a broader issue at play here.

The question of whether a team should be referred to with singular or plural pronouns is a dangerous one. Some team names are plural by nature (the Gators, the Huskies, the Boilermakers, the Fighting Artichokes, the Geoducks), while others are singular (The Crimson, the Orange, the Cardinal).

Consistency, as in all most things, is, I suppose, key. Or maybe it isn't. Consistency within a single sentence, though, would be nice.

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