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    #1

    couple plural or singular

    "A couple is trying reach a mutual agreement."

    OR

    "A couple are trying to reach a mutual agreement."

    A couple=two people. Is it plural or singular?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: couple plural or singular

    In what follows, I am referring only to BrE.

    Many 'group words' can be followed by a singular or plural verb form, depending on whether the speaker is thinking of one group or more than one person in a group; so:

    The government has decided to do away with the Council Tax. or:
    The government have decided to do away with the Council Tax.

    However, the word couple is always followed by a plural verb form:

    "A couple are trying to reach a mutual agreement."

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    #3

    Re: couple plural or singular

    Am I the only person who, when faced with a task of saying things like "The couple is..." and then "The couple are..." several times in a row, finds that either they both sound right or they both sound wrong?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: couple plural or singular

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Am I the only person who, when faced with a task of saying things like "The couple is..." and then "The couple are..." several times in a row, finds that either they both sound right or they both sound wrong?
    Indeed no. I'll start to write for one of these threads, supremely confident that I know exactly what the right answer is. Then I'll say it and the incorrect alternative over as I write, and begin to have doubts. By the time I have got to the end, I have lost all confidence in myself. I do not submit the post and have to go away to a reference book to check up on what I KNEW five minutes before.

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    #5

    Re: couple plural or singular

    "A couple" is of uncertain meaning. "The couple", as in a married couple, is singular to me.

    'A couple of people are....
    '
    The couple is...
    The team is...
    The government is....

    I know that British speakers say 'The team are...'.

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    #6

    Re: couple plural or singular

    As a BrE speaker, I woul use the plural for two people in a relationship, married,etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Am I the only person who, when faced with a task of saying things like "The couple is..." and then "The couple are..." several times in a row, finds that either they both sound right or they both sound wrong?
    I'll add another no- questions about singular and plural come up so often- they are incredibly tricky sometimes.

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