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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    the audience was/were enjoying

    I don’t know if I should use a singular or plural verb for the following question. I want to use plural ‘were’ because of the word ‘many’. However, if instead of ‘many’, it has ‘someone’ in its place, should ‘audience’ then be seen as a collective noun instead of individual members of the audience?

    Question: The audience was/were enjoying the hilarious act so much that someone/many nearly fell off their seats.


    Thank you!

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: the audience was/were enjoying

    I use "The audience was ..." (BrE).
    An the end, you've given two options that have completely different meanings. "Someone" means "one person" which, of course, does not mean the same as "many". Perhaps you meant "some", not "someone".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: the audience was/were enjoying

    Sorry, I've not written clearly.

    Q: The audience (was OR were) enjoying the hilarious act so much that many nearly fell off their seats.

    If the answer is 'was', please help me understand why.

    Due to 'many. ..fell off', I chose 'were' ie the audience were.....

    Thank you!

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: the audience was/were enjoying

    BrE uses singular verbs where AmE uses plural.

    The team was on a winning streak/The team were on a winning streak.
    The government has passed a new law/The government have passed a new law.
    The audience was laughing/The audience were laughing.


    The audience was enjoying the act so much that many of them fell off their seats.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: the audience was/were enjoying

    Quote Originally Posted by Oceanlike View Post
    Due to 'many. ..fell off', I chose 'were' ie the audience were.....
    I think the verb in the first clause need not agree with the subject in the second clause.
    I am not a teacher.

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: the audience was/were enjoying

    In American English, we use singular verbs with group nouns:

    - the audience was
    - the company has
    - the army goes
    - the band plays

    An exception is groups expressed as plurals:

    - the Beatles were
    - the Himalayas are

    When I read books written in British English, groups usually have plural verbs:

    - the board were
    - the class meet
    - Parliament assemble

    I've never noticed what they do in British movies. It's time for me to pay attention!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  7. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: the audience was/were enjoying

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I think the verb in the first clause need not agree with the subject in the second clause.
    Of course not!

    Oceanlike, diagram the sentence and you'll see that Matthew is right.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  8. Piscean's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: the audience was/were enjoying

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    BrE uses singular verbs where AmE uses plural.

    The team was on a winning streak/The team were on a winning streak.
    It's the other way round in my opinion.

  9. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: the audience was/were enjoying

    Yup. Ditto.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  10. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: the audience was/were enjoying

    Hmm, I realise now that I use a mixture of the two. I'd say:

    The audience is laughing.
    The government has passed a law.
    Manchester United are losing this match.
    Spain are in the lead.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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