Collective nouns

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mjr810

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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?
 

Soup

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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. ;-)
 

mjr810

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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.
 
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mjr810

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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?
 

Anglika

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

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

mjr810

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Anglika,

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

mjr810

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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.
 

Anglika

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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.
 
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mjr810

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I'm glad you pointed out the part I lost sight of -- that ultimately the goal of all language is that a message be understood. You've found the common ground that I missed.

I think you'll agree that when something doesn't seem or feel right, it is at the very least distracting. Here's what I mean....a carpenter (and a good many laymen like me) would notice when a door is not hung plumb. We might still pass through it, but if it sticks it can sure be aggravating.

I think its ok for English to become Americanized -- in America.

When in Rome....well, you know the rest.
 
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