1. toc1000
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    toc1000 New Member

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    Question on verb conjugation

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by toc1000, Nov 27, 2013.

    Sometimes I see writers conjugate a verb in a certain way that I do not understand, as seen in two examples.

    The first passage comes off a sports website, of Houston basketball. The word in question is in orange font.

    Necessity is the mother of all invention, yes? This cliché gets to be cliché because it’s true. Though it’s hard to call Kevin McHale playing a stretch four next to Dwight Howard “invention.” The failure of Asik next to Howard, however, created success. Terrence Jones was given the starting power forward spot and has produced right out of the gate. As a started Terrence Jones is averaging roughly 15 points and 8 rebounds a game. In the preseason many writers assumed Dwight’s natural running mate in the frontcourt would be Jones.

    My question is, why is it "a started", rather than "a starter"? That is, Terrence Jones is a starter (noun - or so I would think) on the team, so why is it conjugated as "started"? This perplexes me, and I am not familiar with the grammatical rule.



    In the second example below, why is it "power struggled" rather than "power struggle" - that is, a single term? Unlike the previous passage, by a semi-professional blogger, the following passage was written by Zach Lowe, a highly respected NBA sportswriter:

    And that even undersells things, because Marty Schottenheimer and Steve Mariucci were both fired by virtue of losing power struggled with their general managers.


    Sources of text:
    1. http://www.red94.net/failure-injuries-rockets-forged-identity/13469/
    2. http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9531195/bill-barnwell-phil-emery-general-manager-philosophy
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  2. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    That's a good question and I don't have an answer. Those read like typos to me, but I'm not very familiar with Basketball jargon.
     
  3. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Look like typos to me.

    In the case of the second example, if it were to be written:

    And that even undersells things, because Marty Schottenheimer and Steve Mariucci were both fired by virtue of losing power and struggled with their general managers.

    or...

    And that even undersells things, because Marty Schottenheimer and Steve Mariucci were both fired by virtue of losing power struggles with their general managers.

    ...it would make more sense to me, but as it stands, I'm having to second guess what the writer meant to convey. Not ideal.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yep. Bad proofreading. Typos...
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's just poor writing compounded by an incompetent editor's sloppy proofread...

    was the author just an 'amateur' comment-poster, or was this in an article by a supposed 'professional' sports writer?
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Both are typos. Also, I'm not sure how well-known or reputable these writers are in the basketball community because I follow basketball quite a bit and I've never heard of either of them.
     
  7. toc1000
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    toc1000 New Member

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    The second author, Zach Lowe, is a professional sportswriter at ESPN, and regarded by some as the best basketball writer anywhere.

    The first author is a regular blogger, not sure if amateur or paid. I don't know how serious the website is, the quality is decent but without strong editorship, they apparently receive some basic funding from the Houston Rockets, but not certain of that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  8. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    I think this sentence was the intended one. The 's' and 'd' key are right next to each other, so he probably hit the wrong key and the editor's mind subconsciously filled in the 's' for the 'd'. A cascade of human errors.
     
  9. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    @Robert_S

    Ahhh... fair point. I never stopped to consider that.
     
  10. toc1000
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    toc1000 New Member

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    (1) Yesterday, I saw the same grammatical usage again on another website. On further thought, my guess is that the reasoning is as follows (entry from Oxford Dictionary for "past participle).

    "Baked beans" and "finished work" - that would make sense, although the modified verb is the final (rather than first) word of the phrase "power struggled". Why is it not "powered struggle" instead? - my guess is "struggled" plays the role of adjective; i.e., a struggle (verb) for power (noun).

    (2) I still cannot figure out the usage of "[a]s a started" in the following. Huh? And yet the writer is not amateurish enough to make that mistake accidentally, so he must have a reason in mind (whether right or wrong).

     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  11. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    My best guess is that "as a started" should read "as a starter" and "losing power struggled" should read "losing power struggles." Wherever you're seeing these, I really think they are typos due to poor editing. In context. there is no way it is a past participle, otherwise the writer would have a much more egregious structural issue and/or a missing word. Sorry, but it can't be more than simple typos. The keys are very close togethr and I've made similar mistakes many times.
     
  12. toc1000
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    toc1000 New Member

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    On third thought, I am guessing this is a deliberate elision by the writer.



    The full sentence as intended may be:

    As a started [player], Terrence Jones is averaging roughly 15 points and 8 rebounds a game.

    The elided word is "player", or maybe "power forward". This indirectly references the previous sentence, and avoids repeating the word "starter", which would be awkward:

     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yeah, what Andrae said. The "d" and "r" keys are close together. It's a typo. It could happen to anyone.
     
  14. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    This is still a poor (and perhaps incorrect) way of writing the sentence. If the omitted word is "player" or "power forward" then the correct construction would be "as a starting," in which case the word would need to come. "As a started" is not correct on its own, no matter how you tweak it or dig for implications. And there is nothing wrong or awkward about repeating "starter" or "starting" if it keeps the context clear. You can either take the answers of experienced writers or hop on Google and dig until you're convinced that people just have gotten to lazy to check their typos. :p
     

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