'football club + have'

avi7

Member
Hindi
I often see people use 'have' while refering to football clubs, or any other sports team. Say, for example: in today's edition of The Times of India, in an article about Manchester City's victory over Liverpool, I read the following sentence:

"Manchester City, who have been imperious at home this season, fell behind to an early goal by Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho."

Now, Manchester City is a club. And since it is a club, my question is: "why is 'have' being used here?".

Thank you.
 
  • MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    That is British usage. The club, or a corporation, etc. is treated as a group, so the plural verb is used. In America, we'd say who has been imperious.

    Exception: if there is a definite article before the team name, e.g. the Yankees, the Nets, etc. would take "have."
     

    dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    That is British usage. The club, or a corporation, etc. is treated as a group, so the plural verb is used. In America, we'd say who has been imperious.
    "Manchester City, who has been imperious at home this season..."

    Wouldn't it technically have to be "which" instead of "who"?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Yes, there are quite a few previous threads about this (though they're quite hard to find:(). BrE usage is different from AmE usage here.

    Though I have the suspicion I've read that even in AmE you'd be likely to use a plural pronoun to refer to a team: so Team X has been very successful recently: they've won seventeen games rather than It's won seventeen games.

    Am I right, or have I got the wrong end of the stick?:(

    EDIT: cross-posted with dn88, who raises an interesting question.
    Further EDIT: I see Julian's answered it!:D
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    That is British usage. The club, or a corporation, etc. is treated as a group, so the plural verb is used. In America, we'd say who has been imperious.

    Exception: if there is a definite article before the team name, e.g. the Yankees, the Nets, etc. would take "have."
    Just to clarify: the US singular usage (for such a collection of individuals) applies only in the verb which immediately follows the collective name (it is a grammatical agreement, regardless of the sense). Later in the sentence or in the following sentence, AE will use the plural pronoun (i.e. AE uses 2 below not 3)..

    1) BrE "Manchester City, who have been imperious at home this season, fell behind to an early goal by Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho. They will need to do better in away games if they want to win the EPL"
    2) AmE "Manchester City, which has been imperious at home this season, fell behind to an early goal by Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho. They will need to do better in away games if they want to win the EPL"
    3) AmE does not use the singular verb later, as in :"Manchester City, which has been imperious at home this season, fell behind to an early goal by Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho. It will need to do better in away games if it wants to win the EPL"

    Cross posted with Loob - who has the correct end of a very nice-looking stick:D
     
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    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I forgot to ask one thing: Would you regard this as personification (of the club)?
    No, the 'who' in "who have" does not personify the club (which is, after all, singular). It refers to its members, who are persons already, so do not need to be personified.

    It would be personification if we said "who has", but we don't say that.
     
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