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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Bulgarian
      • Home Country:
      • Bulgaria
      • Current Location:
      • Bulgaria

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,000
    #1

    and the school were assembled

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough explain to me why a noun in the singular is followed by a verb in the plural?

    The boys were called away from house-windows, gardens, stable, and cow-yard and the school were assembledů

    Thank you in advance for your efforts.

    Regards.

    V.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,845
    #2

    Re: and the school were assembled

    Some collective nouns (police/cattle) are always used in the plural.

    With the rest, there is a marked tendency in BrE to use plural verbs, which is less common in AmE, and I do get the occasional email from the States about this usage. Here we're thinking of the students of the school rather than the institution, so the plural sounds far better to my ears. I could say 'the company is/are doing well', where it could be the institution or the people, but I would only say 'the company is being being sold' because that's focusing on the legal entity not the staff. Some AmE speakers I have spoken to about this on forums find this relaxed attitude towards plural verbs in such cases grates and sounds wrong.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Bulgarian
      • Home Country:
      • Bulgaria
      • Current Location:
      • Bulgaria

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,000
    #3

    Re: and the school were assembled

    Hi Tdol,

    Thank you for your prompt, accurate and convincing explanation.

    Regards.

    V.

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