In some games like basketball or ping-pong, there are two teams and they have scores.

For example, one team has 10, and other has 15, how can I tell others the scores of the two teams?

  1. The scores are 10 and 15
  2. The score is 10 15
  3. The score is 10 versus 15

Also I'm not sure whether to use is or are here.


In basketball, and team sports in general, the simplest way to tell the score is to start with the team in the lead. Using your example, if Team Two has 20 and Team One has 10, you would say:

Team Two leads, 20 to 10.

To address your follow-up question: while a team is comprised of players, the name of the team is expressed as a whole, so you want to use is. To express the score in a more formal way, you would start with the tally, then finish with the team in the lead:

The score is 20 to 10, Team Two.

I am not 100% certain, but I believe Ping-Pong uses serving to express scores. So if Player One has 5, Player Two has 8 and Player One is serving, it would be:

Five serving eight.

  • 2
    We can also note that we really don't need any preposition at all. Consider: Brazil leads Argentina, 2-0, which is generally read aloud as "Brazil leads Argentina, two nil". Or: The Heat lead the Mavericks, 88-86, which is often spoken as "eighty-eight, eighty-six." Indeed, to is the preposition to use when we elect to use one, but it's often omitted for the sake of brevity. – J.R. Jan 13 '16 at 10:24
  • Note that the number of the collective team depends upon where you are. Saying “the team is” is standard American usage, but Commonwealth usage has “the team are”. – Mark Reed Sep 15 '18 at 19:19

Ideally, scores are read out using 'to'. For example, 'team blue' has a score of 10 and 'team red' has a score of 20 :

the score is 10 to 20 to team red.

or if you want to specify the team names along with their scores, you could say something like :

team red leads team blue by a score 10 to 20.

As far as 'is' and 'are' are concerned, each game has a single score. So it is generally referred to with 'is'. eg: "The score is 15-to-love".

Please note that in some cases, take football (soccer) for example, consider a game in which Brazil lost to Germany with a score 7-1. Now, the score (goals) can be said to a second person using the following format :

Brazil lost to Germany seven-one.

There are a few ways to mention the score, but a lot of them are sport-specific. Generally, you could say 'to'.


The score is 10 to 15.

I don't have any deep explanation for why this is so, this is just the idiomatic phrasing.

  • In the USA and GB, the winning team's score is listed first unless specially stated otherwise. Thus, 15 to 10 is the normal way to report this score. An alternative way is to say something like Team 2 is trailing Team 1, 10-15. – green_ideas Sep 1 '17 at 3:26

I took sports journalism in college and the proper way to report a sports score is to give the larger number first. You can say "Green Bay beat New Orleans 36-33" or "New Orleans lost to Green Bay 36-33".


I believe the proper format for reporting sports scores,regardless of who wins or loses, is to always list the visiting teams score first and the home-team's last. For example, the New York Yankees are playing the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto and the Jays win 5 to 3. The proper, journalistic way to report that score would be: New York 3 Toronto 5

  • It seems like OP was more concerned with the word choice (versus, and, nothing) rather than the order. I’m not sure if you’re suggesting other choices are wrong. – Em. Jun 22 at 18:18

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