(1) Boyd’s goal secured his team’s place in the Cup Final.
my variants:
(2a) Boyd’s goal secured his team a place in the Cup Final.
(2b) Boyd’s goal secured a place for his team in the Cup Final.

As I understand, (2a) means (2b).
But I don't understand what (1) means.

What does (1) mean?
Why is it correct to use "his team’s place" in (1)?
What is the difference between (1) and (2a)?

  • His team's place implies:—particular position(in the cup final) at the end of the match of that team.
    – Sam
    Aug 11, 2023 at 5:03
  • 1
    #2a simply omits the (predictable, hence unnecessary) preposition Boyd’s goal secured for his team a place in the Cup Final, which is "valid" reordering of the sequence of elements in #2b Aug 11, 2023 at 11:10
  • @Sam: It's not a particular place (like coming in second or third place in a competition). It's one of the two places being the last two teams still in the competition when it comes to the final game (and after the final game, one team will have won first place, the other second place). Aug 11, 2023 at 11:14
  • @FumbleFingers I intended to say (the place of 1st or 2nd)
    – Sam
    Aug 11, 2023 at 12:43
  • @Sam: But like I said, those two places in the final aren't numbered at the time of being "secured". They're just places in the final until that final is actually played - after which one team gets first place in the competition (and the losing finalist team gets second place.). Aug 11, 2023 at 15:34

2 Answers 2


The difference between 1) and 2) - both "a" and "b" - relates to imperfect and perfect past tenses, but is also about which match is seen as most significant.

Number 2) refers to what happened at the moment the place was secured. It's referring to a specific event at the end of the semi-final (Boyd's commentator might argue that it was the moment of his goal, but it's a funny old game when they think it's all over).

Number 1) also covers what happened when and after the place had been secured. The team now has a place in the Final, an ongoing condition, and with it they can proceed to the championship match. That's the important one.

Alternatively, a dedicated fan might assume that the team were always going to reach the Final, and would use 1) to indicate that they'd been entitled to a place all along. Again, though, this relates to an ongoing condition (having a place in the Final) rather than the specific event (gaining a place in the final) that Boyd's goal secured.


Boyd’s goal secured his team’s place in the Cup Final.

This suggests that the team already had a place in the final and that Boyd secured that place (made it certain).

Scenario 1 (I know nothing about how points or wins secure places in a Cup Final)

United needed at least a draw in order to have enough points to be in the final. With two minutes to go, the score was 2-2. They had their place in the final, but there was still a possibility that their opponents would strike back. Then Boyd scored! There was no possibility that in the remining 30 seconds the team could lose their place. Boyd’s goal secured his team’s place in the Cup Final.

Scenario 2

This is mentioned by @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere. We could say that United deserved to win and so Boyd secured the team's anticipated and rightful place in the final.

Scenario 3

Football commentators and writers have their own vernacular. They use loaded language to heighten the emotions of the listeners/readers. This manner of speech encourages the listener to identify with the team and celebrate their achievement. It makes it seem that the win was inevitable or fated, and that Boyd merely confirmed that fact.

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