It is just me (it usually is), or do others also find it silly to use plural verb forms when discussing national sports teams. The World Cup coverage has me gnashing my teeth. Yes, yes, I know there is more than one person on England's football team. Got it, thank you. If I'm not mistaken, the country also has more than one inhabitant. So why, if I can say, "England is struggling with Brexit," must I say, "England are going to have a rough go of it with Columbia"?

Yes - THANK YOU - this is driving me insane. Reason number 739 why I have no tolerance for Soccer.

ltlredwagonSo why, if I can say, "England is struggling with Brexit," must I say, "England are going to have a rough go of it with Columbia"?

You don't have to say England are going to have a rough go with Columbia. Is is equally good, and in fact preferred in America. This plural use of verbs in contexts like yours began as late as the 19th century in Britain, which explains why it not common in the USA. All languages change with time and we can't help it. If you try to read an English text from the 10th century, you won't recognise it as English at all.

CB

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ltlredwagon"England is struggling with Brexit,"

Brexit is of relevance to the entire UK, not just England.

That's a sore subject, CB. I once purchased the entire 20 volume OED, hoping to understand Beowulf, and I just couldn't find definitions for "weorðmyndum," "ymbsittendra" or anything else! Of course, you're right CB. Just having a bit of fun. I actually enjoy the evolution and idiosyncrasies of language. This Yank was in central Ireland about 50 years ago, asking for directions to Cork. You can imagine how that went! But what a beautiful tongue. And anonymous, not meaning to slight the rest of the UK -- hope they make it to the next World Cup; especially fond of Scotland; that were a formidable lot back in the 80s.

ltlredwagonAnd anonymous, not meaning to slight the rest of the UK -- hope they make it to the next World Cup; especially fond of Scotland; that were a formidable lot back in the 80s.

Good stuff.

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