Grammar Tip – Names of Sports Teams and Verbs

Judy’s question: “When writing about a sports team, such as the North Stars, is the accompanying verb singular or plural? Should it be ‘the North Stars consists’ or ‘the North Stars consist’?”

BizWritingTip response: When referring to a collective noun, such as a team, use a singular verb.

Example (correct)

The team is playing tonight.

However, the rules are different when referring to the names of sports teams. According to the CP Stylebook, team names, even singular ones, require plural verbs.

Examples (correct)

The North Stars consist of 34 players.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are a professional ice hockey team based in Tampa, Florida.

But if a city’s name is used as the team name, use a singular verb.

Examples (correct)

Sudbury is first in the standings.

Tampa played its first game.

Don’t you just love English!