Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    66
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Collective nouns?

    Hi my friends...........

    Tell me about collective nouns like family,people etc....
    Is it singluar or plural?

    Can I say family is or family are?


    Thank you very much....................

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Collective nouns?

    Quote Originally Posted by ESL-lover
    Hi my friends...........

    Tell me about collective nouns like family,people etc....
    Is it singluar or plural?

    Can I say family is or family are?


    Thank you very much....................
    Nouns like family are, in AE, almost invariable construed as singular. Thus it would be: "The family is...." In BE it's a little more complicated. If the emphasis is on the collective use singular. If the emphasis is on the individuals use plural.

    People is not a collective noun. Instead, it is a plural of person.

    8)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    66
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Collective nouns?

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    Quote Originally Posted by ESL-lover
    Hi my friends...........

    Tell me about collective nouns like family,people etc....
    Is it singluar or plural?

    Can I say family is or family are?


    Thank you very much....................
    Nouns like family are, in AE, almost invariable construed as singular. Thus it would be: "The family is...." In BE it's a little more complicated. If the emphasis is on the collective use singular. If the emphasis is on the individuals use plural.

    People is not a collective noun. Instead, it is a plural of person.

    8)

    Used as a plural people is a form with no exactly corresponding singular. (English is not odd in this respect: the equivalent word is anomalous in Spanish, Italian, Russian, and many other languages.) In the past, grammarians have sometimes insisted that people is a collective noun that should not be used as a substitute for persons when referring to a specific number of individuals, as in Six people were arrested. But people has always been used in such contexts, and the distinction is now so widely ignored in general writing that it seems pedantic to insist on it. Persons is still preferred in quasilegal contexts, however, as in Vehicles containing fewer than three persons may not use the left lane during rush hours. Only the singular person is used in compounds involving a specific numeral: a six-person car; a two-person show. But people is used in other compounds: people mover; people power. These examples are exceptions to the general rule that plural nouns cannot be used in such compounds; note that we do not say teethpaste or books-burning.

  4. #4
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Collective nouns?

    Used as a plural people is a form with no exactly corresponding singular.
    I don't know who said that, but I have no trouble figuring it out. IMNSHO, people is the plural of person. One person, two people. Also, people is not a substitute for persons. Instead, persons is used instead of people in quasi-legal situations (as noted in the quotation). It is certainly true that it is an unusual plural, and that upsets some grammarians. Nevertheless, I don't think it is truly a mystery about what people is a plural of. Ask 100 people and they will probably all say the same thing.

    8)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    66
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Yuo can see this in American heritage dictionary.

  6. #6
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thank you. The American Heritage Dictionary is a valuable resource. However, I do not always agree with them.

    8)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    66
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Collective nouns?

    There is also singular noun people (plural peoples) meaning nation.

    Persons is sometimes used as a plural of person in official language.

  8. #8
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Collective nouns?

    Quote Originally Posted by ESL-lover
    There is also singular noun people (plural peoples) meaning nation.
    Yes, more or less. People is used in the singular to refer to an ethnic group, for example: the Jewish people.

    Quote Originally Posted by ESL-lover
    Persons is sometimes used as a plural of person in official language.
    That is true.

    8)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    103
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Collective nouns?

    When you say that 'people' is sometimes used as a singular noun, are you implying that it would take a singular verb? I find that hard to accept.
    The Jewish people is...... ???

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    42,661
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Collective nouns?

    It may take a plural verb, but there is a plural form of the collective nouns- 'the peoples of the world'. :D

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. abstract nouns
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 26-Sep-2004, 04:04
  2. collective nouns
    By whl626 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 15-Aug-2004, 18:19
  3. mass nouns quantitative expressions to pluralize nouns
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 15-Jul-2004, 09:53
  4. collective nouns
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-Feb-2004, 19:46

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •