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  • Singularizing "Sox"

    Just something that has always bothered me. When referring to an individual Red Sox player, would you call him a Red "Sock"? I've heard Theo use this, but most media members seem to avoid it by simply saying "a great Red Sox" player or something similar.

    Any idea what the official word would be?
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  • #2
    Originally posted by MadHatter
    Just something that has always bothered me. When referring to an individual Red Sox player, would you call him a Red "Sock"? I've heard Theo use this, but most media members seem to avoid it by simply saying "a great Red Sox" player or something similar.

    Any idea what the official word would be?
    Interestingly enough, Theo's wrong.

    From Wikipeda (as funny as that may be), as well as reference.com:
    The common form of a headless word is a nonregular plural; when such a word lacks a terminal s, it is treated as defective, thus making the singular version of the word identical: an individual member of the Boston baseball team is a Red Sox.
    Last edited by SoxSon; 01-15-2007, 01:51 PM. Reason: Grammar
    "Anything less would not have been worthy of me. Anything more would not have been possible." - Carl Yastrzemski

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SoxSon
      Interestingly enough, Theo's wrong.

      From Wikipeda (as fuinny as that may be), as well as reference.com:
      The common form of a headless word is a nonregular plural; when such a word lacks a terminal s, it is treated as defective, thus making the singular version of the word identical: an individual member of the Boston baseball team is a Red Sox.
      I would agree with that assessment, however it's certainly not merely because it was on the Wikipedia website. Wikipedia is a good resource for some topics and bad for others. It's often inaccurate and research often constitutes little more than copying other websites pretty much word for word without bothering to verify the accuracy of that website.

      In this case though, I believe it is correct, although I'm no expert on this either. :noidea
      Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

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      • #4
        Ah but DF1, our friend SoxSon backed himself up by using reference.com as well.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by EvanAparra
          Ah but DF1, our friend SoxSon backed himself up by using reference.com as well.
          Ah yes. Point well taken, my friend!
          Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

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          • #6
            Originally posted by EvanAparra
            Ah but DF1, our friend SoxSon backed himself up by using reference.com as well.
            I generally only use wikipedia if I can find a corroborating site as well.
            In the case of this issue, however, I know it's true without either site.
            "Anything less would not have been worthy of me. Anything more would not have been possible." - Carl Yastrzemski

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            • #7
              Sox, like deer, are both singular and plural.
              Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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              • #8
                Well, hopefully Theo will reference this thread before speaking to the press in the future.

                Thanks for tracking that down.
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                • #9
                  In my idiolect, sock is the singular of sox, and "a Red Sox" sounds as un-English as "a Yankees." The frequent circumlocution noted by Mad Hatter probably reflects the same intuition. What Theo says is perfectly fine, and he doesn't have to defer to any self-constituted authority.
                  The ball once struck off,
                  Away flies the boy
                  To the next destin'd post,
                  And then home with joy.
                  --Anonymous, 1744

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sliding Billy
                    In my idiolect, sock is the singular of sox, and "a Red Sox" sounds as un-English as "a Yankees." The frequent circumlocution noted by Mad Hatter probably reflects the same intuition. What Theo says is perfectly fine, and he doesn't have to defer to any self-constituted authority.
                    Well, it's fine in an ungrammatical world, which is also fine by me. It is incorrect in terms of proper usage, though, whatever proper might mean. Sock is the singular of socks, not Sox.
                    "Anything less would not have been worthy of me. Anything more would not have been possible." - Carl Yastrzemski

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                    • #11
                      Within the parlance of sports, it's correct, as is the term "flied" instead of "flew".
                      You wouldn't say "he flew out to right" unless you're talking about a bird swooping around inside the park. But if a schoolchild wrote "the plane flied from the airport" he'd get a red "X" on his paper.

                      Even so, I usually say "member of the Red Sox" or "a Red Sox player". It's a little awkward, perhaps, but it gets me around using the ungainly term "a Red Sox" or the strange-sounding "a Red Sock."
                      --Annie
                      Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none. -Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author, and inventor (1706-1790)
                      Remember Yellowdog
                      ABNY

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SoxSon
                        Well, it's fine in an ungrammatical world, which is also fine by me. It is incorrect in terms of proper usage, though, whatever proper might mean. Sock is the singular of socks, not Sox.
                        I agree that it is pointless to apply so-called proper usage to dugout interviews.

                        People go to the trouble to say "a member of the Red Sox" or "a Red Sox player" because their grammatical intuition rejects both "a Red Sock" and "a Red Sox" as not English. If it doesn't bother Terry, it doesn't bother me.

                        Not to impugn your parentage , but sox is just a cute way of spelling socks, not confined to baseball, so it's a distinction without a difference. Etymologically, the team name is a plural like the St. Louis Browns (singular: Brownie), the Philadelphia Athletics (singular: Athletic, even though athletics is in ordinary usage singular).

                        Take compound nouns, which use singular noun modifiers: Is "a Red Sock mentality" ungrammatical? Sounds fine to me.

                        I think that "a Red Sock" sounds odd because socks or sox come in pairs, like pants, and that it would be unusual to find a player called "a Cincinatti Red Stocking" as well.
                        The ball once struck off,
                        Away flies the boy
                        To the next destin'd post,
                        And then home with joy.
                        --Anonymous, 1744

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                        • #13
                          So, what do we call someone who plays for the Jazz? Or the Magic?
                          Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dodgerfan1
                            So, what do we call someone who plays for the Jazz? Or the Magic?
                            A basketball player?
                            "I believe in the Church of Baseball. I tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance." ~Ron Shelton, from Bull Durham

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sliding Billy
                              People go to the trouble to say "a member of the Red Sox" or "a Red Sox player" because their grammatical intuition rejects both "a Red Sock" and "a Red Sox" as not English. If it doesn't bother Terry, it doesn't bother me.
                              Kind of the heart of the matter, isn't it? I agree.

                              Originally posted by Sliding Billy
                              Not to impugn your parentage , but sox is just a cute way of spelling socks, not confined to baseball, so it's a distinction without a difference. Etymologically, the team name is a plural like the St. Louis Browns (singular: Brownie), the Philadelphia Athletics (singular: Athletic, even though athletics is in ordinary usage singular).
                              Impugn away!
                              There is a cute plural form of socks spelled s-o-x In the English language, but the Red Sox aren't a group of similarly colored socks, and the team name is considered a plural headless noun and it's looked at as a "defective" form (we could read a ton into that, eh?) When the common form of such a word is singular, it is treated as if it has a regular plural. The team names you mention above aren't quite the same; the spelling of each is like a regular plural, so we've adopted the use of the singular with individual players.

                              In other words, an individual player on our beloved team is a Red Sox, as strange as that sounds, but I'm not sure I could care much less what anyone calls him!

                              Wow...it is most certainly the off-season, huh?
                              "Anything less would not have been worthy of me. Anything more would not have been possible." - Carl Yastrzemski

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