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  1. sandrapinkoski's Avatar
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    #1

    Question Is it "a couple decides" or "a couple decide"?

    I've been intending to ask the pesky question regarding plural nouns and verbs.

    Should my sentence read, "Once the couple decides to become patients..." or should it read, "Once the couple decide to become patients..."? or in another sentence, "The group decides the way they will go..."

    I've come across this more than once and I'm never sure what the current rule is.

    Is the rule different in the U.S. and the U.K.?

    This is a real puzzler. Thanks for any help you can give on this sticky wicket.

    Sandra

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      • English Teacher
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    #2

    Re: Is it "a couple decides" or "a couple decide"?

    In the US, the tendency is to use a singular verb with a collective or group noun, while in British English the tendency is to use a plural. As a British speaker, I would say 'decide'. Google gives 16,400 for 'decides' and 9,330 for 'decide'.

  2. sandrapinkoski's Avatar
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    #3

    Smile Re: Is it "a couple decides" or "a couple decide"?

    Thank you for your reply. Personally, I like the way a British speaker would say it because it sounds "right." The other way sounds awkward. I'm editing a book here in the U.S. so I'm pretty much stuck, as it were.

    Thanks again. I know I can count on you!

    Sandra

  3. Hayseed's Avatar

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    #4

    Talking Re: Is it "a couple decides" or "a couple decide"?

    I`m an American, and "decides" sounds better to me. But what do I know?

  4. sandrapinkoski's Avatar
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    #5

    Smile Re: Is it "a couple decides" or "a couple decide"?

    Hi Hayseed,
    I'm a "real" hayseed -- I live in Tennessee (but I used to work on two farms in Maryland). You might say I had hayseeds fallin' outa my pocket when country wasn't cool
    I used the word "decides." I have a feeling that since our Editor here found that Google gives 16,400 for "decides" that the majority rules
    Thanks for your reply!
    Sandra

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