Group Nouns - 16/17 ep.23
In this week's Premier Skills English podcast, Rich and Jack talk about the latest news from the Premier League and a fantastic performance from Harry Kane. The language focus this week is on collective nouns and a tricky little question we often receive from listeners: when we are writing or speaking about football teams, do we use singular or plural verbs? We also have a new football phrase for you to guess and a Premier League prediction for you to make. Enjoy!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. You can see two examples here:
Chelsea dropped Diego Costa from their team.
I was gutted when Ibrahimovic equalised with just six minutes left.
There were a few more tricky words in the podcast. Can you remember all of them? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words in context. This can really help with understanding.
Language - Collective Nouns
In this week's podcast, Jack and Rich spoke about whether football team names use a plural or singular verb. They said that a football team name can be used as either a singular or plural noun depending on the context. A football team is a group noun or collective noun and there are lots of other examples of these types of nouns. Take a look at the examples below:
These types of nouns can be used in either the singular or plural form. Take a look at these examples:
The government is very unpopular.
The government are always chamging their minds about things.
My family are at home waiting for me.
My family is very important to me.
If you want to learn more about these types of nouns, take a look at our grammar pages on the LearnEnglish website.
Language - Collective Nouns
In the Premier League, all football teams are singular in form (Arsenal, Manchester Utd, Chelsea) but, in British English, we use a plural form when we are referring to the football team and their actions. For example:
Arsenal are on the attack.
Chelsea have won again.
When we are talking about a Premier League club as an institution or a business, we may sometimes see the singular form used and, in American English, the singular form is also used to refer to the team on the pitch.
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich
Jack: and I’m Jack
Rich: and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Jack: What’s happening this week Rich?
Rich: In this week’s show, we’re going to talk about all the latest news from the Premier League and talk about a problem that our listeners often have when talking about football teams: do we say Arsenal is or Arsenal are? Is it correct to use the singular or the plural form when talking about football clubs?
Jack: Ah yes, the Premier League was back after a short break last weekend. You’ve been on a short break, too, Rich. How were your holidays in New Zealand?
Rich: Fantastic Jack. Lots of firsts for me. My first volcano, first rainforest, first glacier and first swim in the Pacific Ocean.
Jack: Sounds wonderful. I’m a bit jealous. We’ve had lots of wind, rain and snow in the UK in the last week or so. And it’s been freezing.
Rich: Yes, I’ve been very happy with sunshine and 25 degrees every day. Do you want to see the photos?
Jack: No, you can stop now - it’s too much. What else is happening in this week’s podcast.
Rich: As always, we have a new football phrase for you to guess and a Premier League prediction for you to make - we will have all of that later, but let’s start with this week’s headlines.
Rich: Chelsea thump Champions 3-0
Jack: Chelsea dropped Diego Costa but still easily beat the Premier League Champions. Two goals from Marcos Alonso and another from Pedro kept the Blues flying high at the top of the Premier League table.
Rich: A happy week for Harry Kane!
Jack: Harry Kane celebrated the birth of his first child in style. A hat-trick against West Brom lifted Spurs into second place in the Premier League table.
Rich: The Toffees stun Manchester City!
Jack: Everton beat Manchester City 4-0 in the surprise result of the weekend. Pep Guardiola now says that City are out of the title race.
Rich: An exciting week in the Premier LEague title race. Guardiola says City are out of the race but I’m not so sure.
Jack: There is still a long way to go. I think there will be lots of twists and turns yet.
Rich: We looked at cliches in last week’s podcast, Jack!
Player of the Week
Jack: Another weekend full of excellent performances in the Premier League.
Rich: Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso had a great game for Chelsea. Two goals for a defender is brilliant. Everton’s Tom Davies in just his second Premier League start was involved in three goals as Everton beat Man City 4-0, and West Ham’s Andy Carroll scored a sensational goal against Crystal Palace.
Jack: But our player of the week, this week is Tottenham’s Harry Kane - his hat-trick against West Brom was fantastic.
Rich: He could have had more. Kane had a total of 11 shots in the match and it is looking like Spurs might be the biggest challengers to Chelsea at the top of the Premier League this season.
Jack: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to take a look at a question we are often asked on Premier Skills English.
Rich: When we write about football teams do we use singular or plural verbs? Well, it’s not always clear. Let’s take a look at two sentences.
Jack: The first sentence is ‘Liverpool are now in third place in the Premier League table.’
Rich: The second sentence is ‘Manchester Utd has found it difficult to match the level of success it had when Alex Ferguson was manager.’
Jack: The first sentence is taken from the BBC sport website and the second sentence is taken from the FInancial Times a newspaper about business and finance.
Rich: In the first sentence, a plural is used - the BBC website says ‘Liverpool are’ and in the second sentence the singular is used - ‘Manchester Utd has’ not ‘Manchester Utd have’
Jack: But they are both talking about football teams. How can both be correct?
Rich: Well, Jack, I think the second example is talking more about the club as a whole. The writer is thinking about one club or one team, ‘Manchester United has found it difficult.’ The writer discussing Liverpool is thinking more about the players who make up the team, and they, of course, are more than one. ‘Liverpool are now in third place.’ ‘The players are now in third place. He or she could also be including the coach and the manager and maybe even the fans.That’s a lot of individuals.
Jack: So, can I, if I want, change the examples and say “Liverpool is” and “Manchester Utd have”?
Rich: Yes, it’s a question of whether you as a speaker or writer want to emphasize the individuals in the team or club, or talk about the team as a unit. A team of players, use plural; one team or club, use singular.
Jack Okay, I like having a choice. But is it the same in American English?
Rich: Well, it depends and this is a very general piece of advice, but in Britain, we tend to prefer the plural; 'Liverpool are' and the States tend to prefer the singular; 'Manchester United has'.
Jack: In the podcast and across the Premier Skills English website, you will usually see the plural ‘Liverpool are’ as both Jack and I are British.
Rich: It’s a difficult one, but it is more common to hear and see singular team names like Arsenal and Chelsea being used with plural verbs. Try typing “Chelsea have won” and then “Chelsea has won” into Google and look at the number of search results. There is a very big difference.
Jack: And, it’s not only football teams. You may also see companies, music groups and political parties being used with plural verbs.
Rich: On the podcast page, we have more information about collective nouns and some activities for you to practise using these types of words.
Can you work out this week’s football phrase?
Rich: Have you got a football phrase for us this week?
Jack: Yes, I have, but first, last week’s football phrase. The phrase was replay. If there is a draw in some cup competitions like the FA Cup the match is played again - at the away team’s stadium. In the past, there were lots of replays but these days if the teams are drawing at the end of the replay there is a penalty shootout.
Rich: Did you know that Burnley and Chelsea once had to play a match 5 times before Chelsea finally won!
Jack: Burnley must have been gutted!
Rich: Nice word. I hear football players using that a lot in interviews. It means very, very disappointed.
Jack: Well done to Kwesimanifest from Ghana, Ghigo from Italy, Elghoul from Algeria, Aragorn1986 from Montenegro, Emir from Bosnia, Liubomyr and Alex from Ukraine, Aleksandr from Uzbekistan and Shobonenok from Russia. Well done to all of you?
Jack: Actually Rich can you have a go at Shobonenok’s nickname. Last week, he said that you didn’t get it quite right.
Rich: Well done to Shobonenok from Russia. Let me know if I’m closer to the correct pronunciation, this week! What’s this week’s phrase, Jack?
Jack: It’s a word again this time. The word is *********. It’s a word you might hear in the next few week’s because the weather is bad. If it snows too much or a pitch is frozen a match can be ********* and played on a later date.
Rich: Sometimes a match is also ********* because of fixture clashes like a league match with a cup final on the same day.
Premier League Prediction
Rich: Last week’s prediction was Manchester Utd and Liverpool and I have mixed feelings. I’m very happy that I got the correct score and result but I was gutted when Ibrahimovic equalised with just 6 minutes left.
Jack: Still, not a bad result at Old Trafford. I thought United would win and so did our listeners. So, 3 points for you Rich - that takes you back to the top of the prediction league on 12 points.
Rich: A small consolation, Jack.
Jack: Which match are you talking about this week?
Rich: This weekend, Manchester City are at home to Spurs. Last week, Pep Guardiola said that City’s title chances are over. Well, they might be if they lose this one, too. Spurs are in great form and are up to second place. I think City will bounce back from their 4-0 defeat at Everton and surprise Spurs. Final score: Manchester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Jack: Spurs are just too good right now. I think it will finish 3-1 to Tottenham.
RIch: Right, that’s all we have time for this week.
Jack: Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below. And remember to make your Premier League prediction in the vote.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
Last week's featured match was a 1-1 draw between Manchester Utd and Liverpool. Jack and our listeners predicted a win for Manchester Utd, but Rich predicted the correct result and the correct score. Three points for Rich sends him back to the top of our prediction league. Rich is now on 12 points Jack and our listeners stay on 11 points - it's very, very close! Remember, it's one point for the correct result and two additional points for the correct score. The big match in Gameweek 22 is - Man City v TottenhamCan you predict the right score?
|Gameweek 21||Total Points||Manchester City v Tottenham|
Make your prediction now!
What do you think?
In this week’s podcast, Jack and Rich spoke about which verb forms we use to speak and write about football teams.
Do you say 'Arsenal is.......' or 'Arsenal are.........'? After listening to this podcast, have you changed what you say?
Pep Guardiola says that Manchester City are out of the Premier League title race. Do you agree with him?
Rich says that Tottenham are the main challengers to Chelsea. What do you think?
Remember to write your guess at this week's football phrase and the questions above in the comments section below.