1

Could you please tell me which word is more correct? Support or Root for ?
For example, I like one team or, maybe, player. What do I have to say? I support this team/player or I root/ I’m rooting for this team/player? Is there any difference? How would you say? Does it depend on the country (the USA, Canada, the UK)

1

You can say both, they have very slightly different meanings. However, "root for" is only North American.

To support [someone/something] is to be in favour of that thing, and is universal across speakers of English. It is used for sporting teams, political parties, abstract ideas, laws, etc, and can be used in any formal or informal situation. It is also used in many literal ways (beams supporting a house), figurative (evidence supporting a theory), financial (I support the family = pay for), and organisational (support teams = people who are there to help you with something).

  • "Players, managers, owners and staff come and go, but we, the Fulham supporters, remain through thick and thin." (UK Football, Fulham Supporter's Trust)
  • "David Miliband supports Gordon Brown" (UK Politics, Daily Telegraph)

To root for [someone] is to hope that person wins, or to express hope that that person wins, and is used in US and Canada. It is only used for competitive things such as sporting and political contests, and is informal.

  • "Are Giants fans rooting for Jets?" (US Sport, New York Times)
  • "John Tory would be rooting (privately and perhaps even publicly) for Wynne" (Canadian politics, Toronto Star)
  • 1
    bravo excellent answer – WendyG Jul 22 at 13:44
0

"To support" is more often used with organizations or politicians. "I support John Smith" or "I support Greenpeace." The idea is that there is some viewpoint or policy goal that you agree with and support. But it is not wrong to say "I support the Cubs", just a bit less common, and maybe a bit too stiff.

"To root for" is perfectly fine, although this more closely refers to the actual act of cheering for a team during or before an event. Again, it's not wrong to say "I root for the Cubs" to state the general fact that you favor that team, just a bit less common.

By far the most idiomatic way, at least in American English, to say that you like a particular team is:

I'm a Cubs fan.

A fan is:

an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator

  • 1
    can you tag this as american english, it is not correct for a Brit. We don't really "root for" anybody. But we do "root out" bad-uns – WendyG Jul 22 at 13:46
  • 1
    @WendyG Really? thesun.co.uk/archives/boxing/1034948/vin-the-mood: "It’s not only us Brits who will be rooting for Nathan — American fans will too as they know class when they see it.", telegraph.co.uk/culture/3647995/…: "The Isle of Man tourism ministry is rooting for him", digitalspy.com/tv/ustv/a438771/…: "And so whichever romance you're rooting for - or if you're neutral - you can't help but find this incredibly poignant." (the author is British). – userr2684291 Jul 22 at 15:55
  • Interesting: I've never heard "root for" in the UK, perhaps it's arriving, per the articles of @userr2684291 I note that the quote in the Sun is Vinnie Jones lives in LA and runs a football team there. Digital Spy article has both markers of both British ("snogging") and American ("meanie") English. Telegraph article clearly is "root for" caught in the wild in British English. Wouldn't surprise me to hear much more of it. I'm going to ask young people and sporting fans for opinions. – jonathanjo Jul 22 at 16:32
  • @jonathanjo I only went looking because the dictionaries don't say anything as concerns one sense of the idiom (but not the other). The same can be found here, and the OED (the 2nd edition, from the late 20th century) only mentions that root for is American in origin, which would imply that it had spread across the pond since. The ODE (now Lexico) also remains silent on the issue, meaning it's probably attested in BrE. – userr2684291 Jul 22 at 21:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.