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  1. #1
    jirikoo is offline Member
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    questions for real experts:)

    Dear all,

    well, I have been trying to figure out the system and constructions of the collective nouns.

    Initally, I know that the collective nouns are nouns used either to help define the terms of venery Collective noun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    (flock, herd, pride) or more generally, groups of people, things or concepts, such as group, school, team, country, etc., in which cases both are obvisouly countable nouns.

    In the latter case we can, under certain cirrcumstances, use the noun in the singular construction but with verb and pronouns that carry a plural form. Therefore not only can we say: The school has a high budget this year but for instance: The school have a high budget this year. (school comprising of many students and teachers and speaking about the group of people).

    Another example of this, so called, "metonymic shift": is in this sentence bellow:

    Germany have won the competition. (as well as we could say: Germany has won the competition.)

    Now to my question: What article is connected with such a change. Does an article change along with the verb? In other words, may I use an indefinite article "a/an"?

    A team lose all members.


    Or should I use only the definite article "the"?

    The team lose all members.


    Note that is one phrase that is grammaticalty, perfectly correct: A number of friends come to my house every Christmas.

    Thanks to all for your your opinions,

    Jirikoo

  2. #2
    jirikoo is offline Member
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    Re: questions for real experts:)

    Quote Originally Posted by colloquium View Post
    With regards to using the indefinate article, it's all a matter of context.

    The indefinate article has, of course, the same meaning as one.

    A car = One car

    A thought = One thought

    Using this idea, we can test it against one of your example pairs.

    Germany has won the competition.

    Germany have won the competition.

    To agree with has, Germany must be a singular subject in the 3rd person.

    One is also a singular subject in the 3rd person: therefore it can - theoretically - replace Germany.

    Context:

    People of both sexes entered, but a woman has won the competition.

    Thanks, but you have never heard of the term "collective nouns", have you? What you are present in your response is absolutely right.
    The fact is we can say for example: "The company do not have enough lawyers". "The company go bust", etc. That what "the collective nouns" or else the "metonymic shift" are all about.

    My question was lightly divergent...
    ...see my whole post .

    thanks anyway

  3. #3
    colloquium is offline Senior Member
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    Re: questions for real experts:)

    It's possible depending on context: it depends on the rules normally observed in article use.

    If we receive a big budget cut next year, a team (will) lose all (its) members.

    (An as yet unknown or unspecified team.)

  4. #4
    colloquium is offline Senior Member
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    Re: questions for real experts:)

    Sorry Jirikoo, please disregard that post (which I deleted). Let's just say I am having trouble waking up this morning! I am getting used to being lazy over the holiday period.

    Please see my later post which actually addresses your question.

  5. #5
    jirikoo is offline Member
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    Re: questions for real experts:)

    Quote Originally Posted by colloquium View Post
    Sorry Jirikoo, please disregard that post (which I deleted). Let's just say I am having trouble waking up this morning! I am getting used to being lazy over the holiday period.

    Please see my later post which actually addresses your question.

    No worries, I will forgive you...:)

    does it mean then that in such cases the indefinite article as well as the singular possesive pronoun can be kept?


    If we receive a big budget cut next year, a team lose all its members.

    Thanks a lot

  6. #6
    colloquium is offline Senior Member
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    Re: questions for real experts:)

    Quote Originally Posted by jirikoo View Post
    No worries, I will forgive you...:)

    does it mean then that in such cases the indefinite article as well as the singular possesive pronoun can be kept?


    If we receive a big budget cut next year, a team lose all its members.

    Thanks a lot
    Logically, as a means one, it seems that a agrees with its, but not their.

    But in terms of actual, day to day, English use:

    A team lose all their members

    does not sound particularly awkward to the native ear.

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