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I'm writing a paper and I'm stuck. Can't seem to decide which is the correct one to use in this phrase ' to communicate to the general public that (doesn’t/don't) speak the language'. I used the word don't at first but just doesn't seem right...
I would disagree. If you reduce the sentence to just the subject and verb, i.e. "the public does" or "the public do", it would only sound correct to use "does." Sometimes just putting the subject and the verb together will help you better hear what sounds more natural. Hope that helps.
thanks, that does help. that makes sense.
public 2 S2 W2 noun
1 the public [ also + plural verb British English ] ordinary people who do not work for the government or have any special position in society : The meeting will be open to the general public .
Police warned members of the public not to approach the man, who may be armed.
On the whole, the public are conservative about education.
2 in public if you do something in public, you do it where anyone can see OPP in private : Her husband was always nice to her in public.
→ wash/air your dirty linen/laundry (in public) at dirty 1 ( 7 )
3 [ singular, U also + plural verb British English ] the people who like a particular singer, writer etc : He is adored by his public.
The theatre-going public are very demanding.
to communicate to the general public, who don't speak the language.
If only some of the public doesn't speak the language, I'd write:
to communicate to those of the general public who don't speak the language.
PS: I've just realised I've used 'doesn't' in my sentences, and 'don't' in yours. I'd still write your sentences that way.
If American, treat "public" as a singular.
If British, treat "public" as plural.
An American will say "Congress is going to raise taxes."
A Brit will say "Parliament are going to raise taxes."
There is no universal answer that covers all English speakers.
The consensus is that neither is the "correct" usage. In sum, the answer is It depends.