Editing for Grammarphobes: Are You Ready for Some Football?


Come the second weekend in September, I put down Pride and Prejudice and my tea for a few hours to yell “Hit somebody!” from gridiron sidelines. My neighbors have been known to hear me utter the phrase, “He faked him out of his jock strap!” through open windows on more than one occasion during Chicago Bear games.

I love football.

Now that the NFL is in full swing, I thought it would be fun to focus on some of the words that are frequently used when writing about the old pigskin.

Please note that this post refers to American football. My condolences to our European readers for the United States ripping off the name of your sport, which also is lots of fun to watch. I very much enjoy Manchester United. Rooney is a god.

Anyhow, back to the National Football League, per The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law.

It is ball carrier (two words), but ballclub (one word).

Blitz is both a noun and a verb.

Goal line, is two words, as in Matt Forte powered over the goal line. The phrase goal-line stance, used to describe a type of defense when the opposing offense is within a yard or two of the end zone, should be hyphenated because it is a compound modifier.

Kick off is a verb, but kickoff is an adjective.

Some position titles are one word, such as linebacker, lineman, quarterback and tailback, while others are two, including running back, wide receiver, tight end and split end.

Touchdown is one word, as is touchback.

Halftime is a noun.

Go Bears!


A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as grammar, blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature, research, and publishing. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women's Fiction Writers, Naperville Magazine, and Fresh Fiction. She also is the author of three contemporary women's fiction novels and is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association. For more information on Karen, please visit www.karenberner.com.


angel011 said…
I'm European, and I don't care for football, ours or American. I do care for grammar, though. That was a fun post! :)
Liminal Fiction said…
I was shocked that they beat the Falcons so handily on Sunday, good win for y'all.
angel011: I'm glad you enjoyed it, even if you are not a football fan.

Richard, I was surprised, too. Congratulations on a great Eagles win as well.
Beverly Diehl said…
Not a big football fan (though I will watch the Packers, if they're in the play-offs - sorry!) though I do enjoy a tight end.

Great post about the bizarre vocab. Now I feel even more pigskin ignorant.
Kelly Hashway said…
I don't watch football nearly as much as I used to, but I do like the Packers and since my husband is a Redskins fan, I see most of those games.
What's up with all of these Packer fans? Oh well, I guess you cannot help it. :)
R. Doug Wicker said…
I've grown to hate sports. I do, however, enjoy watching my favorite team play.

My favorite team being, any team that's beating the Dallas Cowboys.
R. Doug, I think a lot of people are with you on your favorite team choice. :)
BECKY said…
Hey, I LOVE football, too! Since I live near St. Louis, my favorite team is the Rams. (I know...it's embarrassing! I long for those "Greatest Show on Turf" days." Hopefully Sam Bradford will take us to the playoffs!)This was a wonderful post! So unique and creative...Loved it!
Thanks so much, Becky. Glad you stopped by.

P.S. Give me a high-five, sister football lover!

Popular posts from this blog

Using 'They' and 'Them' as Singular Pronouns

Editing for Grammarphobes: A Little Dash Here and There

Five Fun Facts About Ralph Waldo Emerson