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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Collective nouns

    I am a native American English speaker and was taught that collective nouns were treated as 'singular' words and required a singular verb in sentence usage. More and more I am encountering journalists and authors adopting the British English rules and using plural verbs for these nouns.

    What's happening here? Have our grammar rules changed?

  2. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Collective nouns

    Ex: The team are winning the league.

    Language is a liquid science. It has more than one natural form. And the more we are exposed to its forms, the more we adapt and change with it.

  3. #3

    Smile Re: Collective nouns

    Singular collective nouns such as 'team, family, government' can take single or plural verb form.

  4. Newbie
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    #4

    Re: Collective nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Ex: The team are winning the league.

    Language is a liquid science. It has more than one natural form. And the more we are exposed to its forms, the more we adapt and change with it.
    I think you mean 'These team are winning the league' don't you?. See how silly that sounds?

    America has been exposed to the British form of English for 400 years now. We are not now just becoming exposed to British English. It appears to me that the mixups today are due to the wave 'political correctness' that has been sweeping our nation for the past 20 odd years. Methinks some of the leared ones are outhinking and outsmarting themselves (or at least trying to).

    I can remember this topic coming up when I was in Grammar School. We were then taught that we use the singular verb when referring to the unit and we use a plural verb when referring to the individual members of the unit. Thankfully, mainstream schools still teach English Grammar the American way.
    Last edited by mjr810; 29-Feb-2008 at 01:43.

  5. Newbie
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    #5

    Re: Collective nouns

    See attached

    Originally Posted by Soup
    Ex: The team are winning the league.

    Language is a liquid science. It has more than one natural form. And the more we are exposed to its forms, the more we adapt and change with it.

    I think you mean 'These team are winning the league' don't you?. See how silly that sounds?

    America has been exposed to the British form of English for 400 years now. We are not now just becoming exposed to British English. It appears to me that the mixups today are due to the wave 'political correctness' that has been sweeping our nation for the past 20 odd years. Methinks some of the leared ones are outhinking and outsmarting themselves (or at least trying to).

    I can remember this topic coming up when I was in Grammar School. We were then taught that we use the singular verb when referring to the unit and we use a plural verb when referring to the individual members of the unit. Thankfully, mainstream schools still teach English Grammar the American way. 20-Feb-2008 16:47Shakespeare's brotherRe: Collective nouns
    Singular collective nouns such as 'team, family, government' can take single or plural verb form. 20-Feb-2008 16:22SoupRe: Collective nouns
    Ex: The team are winning the league.

    Language is a liquid science. It has more than one natural form. And the more we are exposed to its forms, the more we adapt and change with it. 20-Feb-2008 16:18mjr810Collective nouns
    I am a native American English speaker and was taught that collective nouns were treated as 'singular' words and required a singular verb in sentence usage. More and more I am encountering journalists and authors adopting the British English rules and using plural verbs for these nouns.

    What's happening here? Have our grammar rules changed?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #6

    Re: Collective nouns

    The team are playing well tonight = the team as a group of individuals.

    The team is playing well tonight = the team as an entity.

  6. Newbie
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    #7

    Re: Collective nouns

    Anglika,

    I was wondering if you are from the UK or the US?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #8

    Re: Collective nouns

    Why would that matter?

  7. Newbie
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    #9

    Re: Collective nouns

    Because American English differs in some ways from British English. No question, British English is the original and I am not debating that. Some grammar rules, however, are different on this side of the Atlantic - just as they do in other languages.

    To illustrate, I also speak Spanish. In Spain, the pronoun vosotros is used to make a reference in 2nd person plural. Vosotros is not used in the Americas (North, Central, South). Rather, we use the pronoun ustedes.

    I see our form of English to be just as pure as the British form, yet differences remain.

    As for your example, it doesn't wash. To use the plural verb form, a reference must be made or implied. Take the word 'dozen' for example.

    I use an example from the great William Safire........

    If we are talking about eggs we would say 'A dozen is not enough'. If we were talking about how many people will be attending a party, we would say 'A dozen are attending'.

    My point is - and I hope you will not be offended - I do not want to see American English become any more Anglicized.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #10

    Re: Collective nouns

    No more than I want English to become Americanized or Indianized or Jamaicanized.

    But since language is flexible and fluent and always evolving, it is going to happen. There is no point being excessively resistant provided at the end of the day we are understood.

    Your argument about "dozen" as just as applicable to team.
    Last edited by Anglika; 29-Feb-2008 at 03:01.

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