Okay, here’s something I don’t like.

I haven’t done much complaining yet in this blog, nor have I ventured much into issues of grammar, and I feel that the time has come for both. So here’s my first gripe about British grammar: the use of a singular verb with a collective noun; for example, “His family plan to sue.” The first few times I noticed this in the newspapers, I chalked it up to poor proofreading; it has now become apparent, however, that England think this construction is perfectly acceptable.


9 Responses to “Okay, here’s something I don’t like.”

  1. Carolyn Says:

    juli i love you

  2. Carolyn Says:

    guess what, i just reread the post and it says, “England think”

  3. julivera Says:

    I know, that was my joke! It sounds weird, doesn’t it? Like if they’re talking about a sports team, they’ll say, “Manchester are expected to do well,” while we would certainly say, “New York is expected to do well.” Don’t you think?

  4. Jonathan Says:

    hmm, I kinda like that way of talking. I think I’m gonna start practicing. I believe there will come a time when our entire country are comfortable with it.

    Hey, I now have a blog. it’s here: http://enjolis.blogspot.com/

    I hope the whole family visit it.

  5. Carolyn Says:

    oh! he he

  6. Nick Says:

    Both ways are grammatically fine to use. Americans would say the police plan to sue, not the police plans to the sue. The same rule can be used for family. I can’t believe I let you correct my papers in college!

  7. Larry Best Says:

    OK I know nothing of grammar, but:
    It’s a matter of plurals, I think. “England” is singular. Or maybe the English think it’s plural. ” Manchester” is singular as well. “the police” could be either in the US. You might say “the police plans” meaning the police dept.
    A singular noun is followed by one word and a plural noun is followed by another. I don’t remember what they’re called. I may never have known. But England have different rules.

  8. Larry Says:

    OK I know nothing of grammar, but, It must be a singular – plural thing.
    Nick , we might say “the police plans to sue” if we meant the police dept. The Britts think MANCHESTER is plural. Whats with that?

  9. amanda Says:

    I used to live with a Brit and I know exactly what you mean. They also say things like ” he was in hospital” instead of “he was in the hospital,” which seems somehow related.

    I miss you Juli! I just voted for Barack Obama. Like 3 minutes ago.

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