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At the end of the season, the team, regardless of whether they win the championship, are splitting up.

I thought this was perfectly fine, although perhaps saying "the team members" would have been nicer (in my opinion). However, apparently, it should be rewritten as

At the end of the season, the team, regardless of whether they win the championship, is splitting up.

But this bothers me a) because I thought "team" could be both singular and plural depending on the situation, and b) with the clause "regardless of whether they win the championship" where "they", a plural, is used, wouldn't it be odd to use "... is splitting up" just to match "team" which is apparently singular? (That's why I chose to keep "team" plural in my first attempt at editing.)

  • This may be regionally dependent; my experience (I'm American, from NY) is that BrE tends to treat 'the team' as a plural noun ('the team are...') while AmE tends to treat it as singular ('the team is...'). The usage, incidentally, is similar for 'the government', and I believe 'the company' - essentially, any 'singular' noun that is in actuality made up of multiple people. – Jeff Zeitlin Jul 24 '18 at 19:08
  • The question of whether team is singular or plural comes up a lot here. – stangdon Jul 24 '18 at 19:16
  • I understand that the question of whether team being singular or plural is a rather common one, but I'm confused here because of the "they" in the sentence, as I've explained in my post. – space Jul 25 '18 at 1:50
  • @jjhh If the team is treated as a plural, then it should be they win / are splitting up; if treated as a singular, then it wins / is splitting up. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 25 '18 at 2:02
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No. The word "team" defines a single group of people. Just as a sack of potatoes is a single sack, though it might contain several potatoes.

If you're talking about the team as a whole, it's singular. If you're talking about multiple teams, now you're plural. The team members are separate units from the team, itself. Just as the potatoes are separate units from the sack.

  • If you're going to downvote my answer, have the courtesy to explain why. – user9570789 Jul 24 '18 at 20:56
  • I did not downvote it, but I can guess one reason why someone did. It is that your definite, and logical seeming answer, does not do justice to the fact that this question is contentious with strong feelings on every side of the debate. If you doubt that it is contentious have a look at earlier occurrences of this question on this site. – JeremyC Jul 24 '18 at 21:54
  • That's pretty amusing. A site that typically disdains feelz now requires feelz considerations for something that has nothing to do with feelz. But, what would SE be without circular logic? – user9570789 Jul 25 '18 at 19:23

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