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    #1

    Were/was inappropriate behavoiur

    Hi,

    Since "behaviour" is a mass noun I wonder whether to use a singular verb with it in the following sentences.

    1-"I reported a couple of instances of what I thought were/was inappropriate behaviour "
    2-"I reported a couple of instances which I thought were/was inappropriate behaviour"

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Ryan.; 05-Mar-2014 at 14:13.

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    #2

    Re: Were/was inappropriate behavoiur

    The first one is correct. The second one is not strictly correct because, as you say, the noun 'behaviour' is uncountable and therefore needs a singular verb.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Were/was inappropriate behavoiur

    I don't understand your answer. In both sentences there is a choice between "were" and "was".

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Were/was inappropriate behavoiur

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan. View Post
    Hi,

    Since "behaviour" is a mass noun I wonder whether to use a singular verb with it in the following sentences.

    1-"I reported a couple of instances of what I thought were/was inappropriate behaviour "
    2-"I reported a couple of instances which I thought were/was inappropriate behaviour"

    Thanks.
    Behaviour is not always a mass noun. "Different animals have different mating behaviours."
    In any case, I'd use 'was' for 1, and "were inappropriate behaviours" for 2.
    The same answers apply if you replace "inappropriate behaviour" with "criminal activity/ies" or lots of other "mass nouns" that can take singular or plural forms.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Were/was inappropriate behavoiur

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan. View Post
    Hi,

    Since "behaviour" is a mass noun I wonder whether to use a singular verb with it in the following sentences.

    1-"I reported a couple of instances of what I thought were/was inappropriate behaviour "
    2-"I reported a couple of instances which I thought were/was inappropriate behaviour"

    Thanks.
    1. I reported a couple of instance of what I thought was inappropriate behaviour.
    2. I reported a couple of instances of behaviour, both of which I thought were inappropriate.

    I didn't find the construction of your second sentence natural so I would reword it as above.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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