My family are (or is)

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bmo

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I am confused:

My family is from Italy.
My family are very close.
My family is poor.
My family are poor.
My family is very grateful.

Are these all correct? When do you use "are" or "is?"
 
J

Jesse Huang

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In my opinion:

My family is... "My family" is treated as one unit.

My family are...I am saying every member in my family.
 

MikeNewYork

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bmo said:
I am confused:

My family is from Italy.
My family are very close.
My family is poor.
My family are poor.
My family is very grateful.

Are these all correct? When do you use "are" or "is?"

In American English, collective nouns are almost always treated as singular. In British English, it often depends on whether the speaker/writer sees the noun as a unit or as individuals. That seems to defeat the purpose of collective nouns, but that is how it is. 8)
 

MikeNewYork

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bmo said:
thanks to jesse and mikenewyork, i think i got it. bmo

You're welcome. :)
 

Tdol

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MikeNewYork said:
In British English, it often depends on whether the speaker/writer sees the noun as a unit or as individuals. That seems to defeat the purpose of collective nouns, but that is how it is. 8)

Watch it. ;-)
 
A

Android

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From grammar point of view, the word 'family' is singular, so I would use 'is'.
 

MikeNewYork

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tdol said:
MikeNewYork said:
In British English, it often depends on whether the speaker/writer sees the noun as a unit or as individuals. That seems to defeat the purpose of collective nouns, but that is how it is. 8)

Watch it. ;-)

:wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:
 

chris0103

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May 26, 2006
when you speak of your family or a family in general, you are talking about a single group. So, family is, is the correct usage. One exception is "the people in my family are crazy, nice......whatever. This is because you have changed the subject to a plural, people.
 

filecore

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Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I note that in fact you're both wrong. I got to this via Google, so others may too. First off:

In American English, collective nouns are almost always treated as singular. In British English, it often depends on whether the speaker/writer sees the noun as a unit or as individuals. That seems to defeat the purpose of collective nouns, but that is how it is. 8)
You're mostly right, but your last comment is ill-informed. In British English, it depends whether you are talking about your family as a unit ("my family is from Italy") or as a collection of individuals ("my family are friendly" = "all the people in my family are friendly"; also "my family is friendly"). Although you can treat the family as a single unit (collective noun) or as a collection of individuals, it's still a collective form, and therefore doesn't defeat the purpose of a collective noun.

when you speak of your family or a family in general, you are talking about a single group. So, family is, is the correct usage. One exception is "the people in my family are crazy, nice......whatever. This is because you have changed the subject to a plural, people.

Bad example. The subject of your sentence has changed from "family" to "people" - you're actually saying "the people [...] are crazy", which deviates from what the original poster was asking, and introduces an irrelevancy, since we would never say "the people [...] is". The fact that they are also "in my family" is supplementary information and not directly relevant.
 
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