Sportslish: Not Needed

Not only do [tag]sportscasters and radio jocks[/tag] abuse English grammar, but they also make a mockery out of tone, inflection and our ear drums.

Heard in the final few moments of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ victory over the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Eastern Finals from the arena announcer as [tag]LeBron James[/tag], 22-year-old phenom, made a difficult basket:  "Le Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaames!"

Give me a break. Does some idiot screaming in our ears in excruciatingly and overbearingly long pronunciations make the on-court action any more interesting? Silence would be golden.  Let the crowd speak in appreciation.

A Number, The Number, Is/Are…?

Let me jump into the fray here and confuse you even more.  Actually, maybe I can clarify matters. Is this sentence correct:  "A number of us is going downtown to watch the baseball game"?

I would say yes, but most modern grammarians/English teachers would say it’s incorrect.  My reasoning is that "a number" is singular, so it must take the singular verb is. They would counter that "a number of us" refers to a collective group and should take the verb are.

Let me settle it by saying you’ll raise fewer eyebrows by using the plural form are, so you should just stick with that (while I continue to use is). However, and here’s where all of us would probably agree, if you said or wrote, "The number of people going to the baseball game is great," that would be correct. The reasoning here is that "the number" refers to a single entity, which is the number, whether it’s 32, 13 or whatever.  Therefore it commands a singular verb.

Clear as mud?  A number of you are (is) probably still confused.