1

Here is the line from an Indian daily [photo caption text],

Argentina's forward and Lionel Messi prepares to kick the ball to score his team's second goal during the World Cup match against Bosnia Hercegovina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. (AFP Photo)

I understand the meaning of the noun forward

forward - The person who plays the position of forward in certain games, such as basketball, soccer, or hockey.

But how does the former sentence take forward and...? Shouldn't it be Argentina's forward Lionel Messi... Not sure whether forward can go there as an adjective though.

Am I missing something?

  • 2
    I'd think he was going to write captain after and: Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi. Just a guess though. – user1513 Jun 16 '14 at 6:00
  • 3
    It was supposed to be Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi: Link #1 Link #2 – CoolHandLouis Jun 16 '14 at 6:13
  • @CoolHandLouis Exactly!!! – Maulik V Jun 16 '14 at 6:15
  • Based on the comment be @CoolHand it seems like it "means" the editor didn't proofread very well ;^) – J.R. Jun 16 '14 at 9:39
  • If one is not a "soccer" fan and does not even know Argentina's (uniform) colors, one could also use one's language facilities to posit some such possible correction as Argentina's forward end, on the analogy of American football having a position called tight end. – user6951 Jun 17 '14 at 2:35
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This problem is due to a typo. It was supposed to be "Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi". I found the following (non-typo) sources using Google Search ("Argentina's forward" "Lionel Messi prepares to kick the ball to score"):

  • www.sportsmole.co.uk: "Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi prepares to kick the ball ... during the 2014 FIFA World Cup..."

  • www.gettyimages.com: "Caption:Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi prepares to kick the ball ... during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 15, 2014."

Note that standard, formal English would typically require commas, as follows:

Argentina's forward and captain, Lionel Messi, prepares to kick the ball.

However, news magazines will often eliminate grammatical and syntactical elements when it doesn't reduce clarity. In this case,

Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi prepares to kick the ball.

Now the above sentence, taken out of context, can seem a bit odd since it initially seems to suggest two different people. But most people who would be reading this within it's natural context would be regular readers of sports and would understand the form.

It may be interesting that this is part of a general pattern in which some rules can be relaxed for shorter phrases (or perhaps conversely, some rules are required for longer phrases). The following sentence would practically demand commas:

Argentina's forward and newly appointed captain of the team, Lionel Messi, prepares to kick the ball.


Credit to @Fantasier who actually predicted the answer before I (independently) researched it.

1

You're correct, the and is improper here, and you have the right definition of forward. Looking at the picture:

  • There's only one Argentinian player
  • That player is Lionel Messi
  • He plays the position of forward
  • He is the only one preparing to kick the ball

Clearly, both Lionel Messi and forward refer to the same person here.

Argentina's forward Lionel Messi is a valid grammatical construct. Forward is a noun and the subject of the sentence. Lionel Messi is a noun phrase functioning adjectivally to describe forward; it tells us which specific Argentinian forward, as they have more than one. It's added as a parenthetical remark or aside, and you can insert some commas into the sentence to make the meaning more obvious:

Argentina's forward, Lionel Messi, prepares to kick the ball to score his team's second goal during the World Cup match against Bosnia Hercegovina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. (AFP Photo)

If you wanted to name both the player and position in a compound subject, you could use forward Messi, though this construction is quite rare in American English. I assume you mean using forward as a title, similar to Doctor Connors or Mister Smith. The forward Messi or Tendulkar the striker are much more common phrasings and function grammatically the same as Argentina's forward Lionel Messi from the sentence in question. Names of sports positions aren't generally given the same level of credence as employment or honorific titles.

0

I think the editor of the hindustantimes is the one that missed something. It looks like this sentence was intended to be written differently, and ended up mangled.

The editor saw "x"and "y", saw two people on the picture, and moved on, I guess.

  • That seems a valid thought. – Maulik V Jun 16 '14 at 5:29
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    Let me edit captions under cricket pictures, and you will get similar nonsense :) – oerkelens Jun 16 '14 at 5:30
  • There, the matter could be clear (as a blunder though!) but here, the confusion occurred as forward is a noun and I thought is it someone else (forward) and Messi preparing for a 'kick'? Also, can forward go as an adjective? - Forward Messi? – Maulik V Jun 16 '14 at 5:35
  • The thing is that the only Argentinian player on in the picture is Lionel Messi, who happens to be Argentina's forward. It is impossible that they mean two different people with that. An editor with a serious interest in soccer would have noticed that. And no, "Argentina's forward" in this context only means Lionel Messi, their forward player. – oerkelens Jun 16 '14 at 5:37
  • Again, is Forward Messi possible? Something like Striker Tendulkar? (The person who's batting facing the ball currently). – Maulik V Jun 16 '14 at 5:39

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