A 68-team field of stalwarts, potential spoilers and national tournament newcomers will play for the N.C.A.A. championship in Division I women’s basketball.

Source - The New York Times

To me the text describes a 68-team field of stalwarts that will play for the N.C.A.A. championship. So how come the field will play and not the teams?

1 Answer 1


Field here is a collective noun for a group of teams. The teams will play, the whole of the field will play.

4: The individuals that make up all or part of the participants in a contest.

Consider replacing teams and field with another singular and collective noun set.

A 68-bird flock of parrots will race around the world.

  • 1
    Given OP's confusion, 'a school of fish' (perhaps 'a fish school' to keep the order) may have been a better example of a well-known collective noun. A flock is only a flock, but a school (like 'field') has an entirely discrete meaning.
    – mcalex
    Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 4:21
  • @mcalex I wanted to illustrate an example that would be straightforwards, but the school example is an excellent double meaning choice.
    – Jontia
    Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 5:52

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