3

Let's say my friend is watching a game of soccer or something else and I want to know what the teams are. Can I say

Which team's game is it/are you watching?

Is this construction correct? It sounds a little odd to me. What would be a correct construct in the given context?

2

Your question seems to have two parts; I'll try to answer appropriately.

  1. Are these phrases correct (by which I assume you mean grammatically correct)?

    Yes, they are grammatically correct. Just for fun, let's try reversing the construct to make it a statement, replacing the "which" with a concrete example.

    Which team's game is it? => It is the German team's game.
    Which team's game are you watching? => You are watching the German team's game.

    These are plenty grammatical, so it seems to follow that the general process of reversing the statement and adding a "which" to make it a question works just fine.

  2. Are these phrases appropriate for their context? Perhaps, are they natural?

    This is, of course, a matter of opinion, but to my ears, neither sounds outright unnatural. The phrase "Which team's game is it?" sounds a little awkward, for sure (less so if you made it "Which team's game is this?"), but "Which team's game are you watching?" sounds perfectly fine. You would be perfectly understood using either construction, and likely no one would question you.

    The one comment I will make is that "Which team's game is it?" wouldn't work very well if you said it as the first sentence in a conversation, e.g. if you walked in the room, saw a game on the TV, and opened with that phrase. "It" refers usually to a predefined object, but since there has been no previous discussion identifying the game on TV, it may take a half-second to realize you are talking about the one on TV. However, it works fine in an exchange such as the following:

    P1: Entering the room What are you up to?
    P2: Watching the television Just watching the game.
    P1: Oh? Which team's game is it?

    No problem there at all.

    That said, it would very likely sound more natural if you were to use one of the phrases supplied by @kiamlaluno ("Which teams are playing?") or @Hellion ("Who's playing?" This is by far the most natural sounding to my American English ears).

4

If you want to know which teams are playing the game, I would ask "Which teams are playing?"

"Which team's game is it?" and "Which team's game are you watching?" don't seem something a native speaker would say. There is also the chance the answer would similar to "It's the final of the UEFA Champions League."

  • 5
    Even more succinctly, you could say "Who's playing?" and reasonably expect the team names as the answer. – Hellion Apr 5 '13 at 14:24
  • Or just: Whose game is this? – tchrist Apr 7 '13 at 14:51
  • @tchrist Could not the answer to that question be "the final of the UEFA Champions League"? – kiamlaluno Apr 7 '13 at 15:24

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