Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Spring Sports Words

Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?


With the baseball season beginning this week, the Masters Tournament this upcoming weekend, and my son’s high school lacrosse game tonight (Go Huskies!), I thought I’d cover some basic spring sports words today. Regardless of if you are into sports or not, everyone should have at least a basic understanding and know some of the terms.


Ballclub, ballpark, ballplayer 

These are all one word. The exception is ball game, which is two words according to Merriam-Webster.com. The Associated Press Stylebook 2016 has it as one word, ballgame, so make a note of that depending for what or where you are writing.


Baseline (one word, no hyphen) is the term for the lines on a baseball field (or diamond) that lead from home plate to first base and third base and are extended into the outfield as foul lines.


Bullpen (one word) is where the pitchers warm up throughout the game.


ERA is earned run average, a pitching statistic.


When used as a noun, in this case, to describe who is playing in the game today, lineup is one word.

Line up, as a verb, is two words.


RBI means runs batted in, a hitting statistic.

Baseball positions

First baseman
Second baseman
Third baseman
Left field
Center field
Right field



A birdie is one stroke under par. Par is the number a good golfer is expected to take to finish a golf hole or course.


One stroke over par is called a bogey.


The person who carries a golfer’s bag is called the caddie.


Two strokes under par is an eagle.


A fairway is the short grass that lies in between the tee and the green.

Green fee

Fees paid to play a golf course are called green fees. They are not greens fees, as I’ve heard many times. In this case, “green” refers to all parts of the course, not just the putting green.

Masters, Masters Tournament

The most anticipated tournament of the year, the Masters doesn’t require the possessive, so no apostrophe.


Lacrosse is America’s fastest growing sport. The term, lacrosse, literally means “crooked stick” in Canadian French, although the game was originated by the Native Americans. It began as a tribal game played by Eastern Woodlands Native Americans and by some Plains tribes in what is now Canada and was originally called “stickball.” Players use long-handled sticks with nets for catching, throwing, and carrying the ball.


When the defense gets the ball and tries to get it into the offensive zone on the lacrosse field.


Cradling is a technique for keeping the lacrosse ball in the pocket of the lacrosse stick. Players twist their wrists and flex their forearms back and forth as a way to cause the ball to stay in the pocket.


The crease is the area in front of the goal, just like in hockey.

Face off

Lacrosse games and quarters start with a face off, but it’s very different than hockey. To see what a lacrosse face off looks like, click here. The ball is placed on the ground between two players. When the whistle blows, each player tries to gain control of the ball. There are also face offs after every goal.


Lax is an abbreviation of lacrosse.


Attack: Attack is responsible for scoring goals and setting up offensive plays. There are three attack who must stay on the offensive side of the field and never cross the mid-field line.

Midfielder: Playing both offense and defense, midfielders (or middies) are allowed to play across the entire field.

Defender: Defense is responsible for protecting the goal, along with the goalie. There are three defenders who cannot cross the mid-field line like the attackmen.

Goalie: Keeps opponents from scoring goals.

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These five books are on my desk at all times. Maybe they'll help you as well.

The Associated Press Stylebook, 2016 edition
The Chicago Manual of Style
Strunk and White's The Elements of Style
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition
The Bugaboo Review: A lighthearted guide to exterminating confusion about words, spelling, and grammar


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.


Anonymous said…
"Face off" reminds me of the movie. :)

Great post, I know next to nothing about sports.

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