“Words” v “Phrase”
Anticipating, interrupting, and correctly completing a question is no easy thing. On even the easiest questions, quizzers have to account for several elements. Because we want quizzers’ study to be rewarded as often as possible by correctly answering questions, it is in the quizzers’ interests that, as often as possible, questions conform to patterns and employ standard terminology.
To that end, as a question writer, I use the term “word” when the key point of interruption is a single word, and the term “phrase” when the key point of interruption is multiple words. I never use the term “words.” For example:
Quote the verse that contains the word “chariot.”
Quote the verse containing the phrase “ancient time.”
I would not write:
Quote the verse containing the words “ancient time.”
While this specific example is not grammatically a “phrase,” for Bible Quizzing purposes, we have standardized on this term because 1) it is easier for a quizmaster not to have to stress the S at the end of “wordS” when the term immediately precedes the key point of interruption; and, 2) should a quizzer interrupt prematurely in the middle of either “wor/” or “phra/” the quizzer immediately knows whether he or she should ask for a single word or a multi-word phrase.
As a corollary, there are instances in which the number of words in a phrase may be specified by the writer to aid quizzers. For example:
What two questions of Romans chapter 6 begin with the same three-word phrase?
All of this is simply best practice for question writers for the sake of standardization. Quizzers completing a question, “…containing the words ‘ancient time'” will not be counted incorrect since the essence of the question remains intact.
Bible Quizzing Director
UPCI Youth Ministries