"Government are...(or is)?"

ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/plurals.htm
About halfway down beginning
Collective Nouns, Company Names,
Family Names, Sports Teams

And no I haven’t slept since that last post
:s :astonished: :help:

[quote=“Loretta”]What about staff?

My staff are…
My staff is…

I prefer the former, but the former seems to be more common.[/quote]

I think we’re dealing with two distinct issues. #1 how they are being perceived, and #2 how you should conjugate them.

A. The class is going to their seats.
B. The class are going to their seats.

Which is right?

In standard North American English I would hazard to say the first one, absolutely. The fact that we refer to “class” with the plural object pronoun is irrelevant. “Class” is a singular noun here and must be conjugated with “is” just as “classes” is plural and must be conjugated with “are”.

A. The classes is going to their seats.
B. The classes are going to their seats.

The same is true of government. We are dealing with a different standard of English with the BBC and HK television. They report, “The victims were taken to hospital,” while Dan Rather would either specify the proper name of the hospital or use an appropriate article.

[quote=“Rik”]http://www.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/plurals.htm
About halfway down beginning
Collective Nouns, Company Names,
Family Names, Sports Teams[/quote]
Good information except their example of “dozen” can be explained away as subject deletion. “A dozen are coming over” is the same as “a dozen people are coming over” and the subject has just been omited because it is understood to be “friends”.

In all other places in their examples collective nouns are conjugated according to their case.

You most certainly will NOT!

[quote=“Loretta”]What about staff?

My staff are…
My staff is…

I prefer the former, but the former seems to be more common.[/quote]

so how many staffs is it? lucky guy.

this kind of thing probably belings in the dating/relationships forum …

(also, did you mean to type latter somewhere, perhaps :wink: )

[quote=“xtrain_01”][quote=“Loretta”]What about staff?

My staff are…
My staff is…

I prefer the former, but the former seems to be more common.[/quote]

so how many staffs is it? lucky guy.

this kind of thing probably belings in the dating/relationships forum …

(also, did you mean to type latter somewhere, perhaps :wink: )[/quote]

I know what I meant, it’s a sign of incipient senility that you don’t.

it’s already here … 31, and already lost my mind and my hair.

here’s to another 7 years in taiwan :laughing:

I believe in American English the collective nouns is being used as a singular. If you dare to use them to be plural, you get posts like the T eacher 8 wrote.

However in British English, they differentiate the collective nouns as a group of people from them being as individuals in the group. I think Rik has put it very nicely.

It’s just not fair that in Taiwan most people respect American English more than British… :unamused:

:loco:

I always thought that we use zero article when we talk about institutions such as hospital, university, prison…etc. being used for their intended pupose: medical treatment in hospital, therefore. And we use articles when we talk about them as particular places or buildings.

He has to stay in hospital for 2 weeks.
He goes to the hospital to see his friend every day.

Same rule applies to bed.

I stayed in bed till late yesterday.
I put my books on the bed and forgot about them.

So there is nothing wrong in saying “The victims were taken to hospital.”

Maybe I misunderstood your meaning, pui. If so please let me know.

[If you're knowledgeable in English, please read

I think you can say either.

Like family.

My family is coming for dinner.
My family are coming for dinner.

Although, it is probably a singular whole group noun.

Football teams too are often refered to in the same way.

Thanks Rik… :slight_smile:

My family is coming to dinner? Does that mean your mother, father, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, inlaws, outlaws, every other living appendage of your family tree, plus “significant others”?

Your Family? Come on…! Of course one can say either! An American would say, “My family is coming to dinner”. Those other guys -no offense intended- might say, “My family are coming to dinner”. Is this really a class room situation you have had? Something about singular, plural subject/verb agreement?

My reality is that when my ugly wife says in Mandarin that her mother and father are dropping by that I don’t ask who “is” or “are” coming to dinner. I just hide the booze and zig-zags, and tell the kids to be very polite and speak only Mandarin.

There may even be places in America where you could use “are”, but I would bet my pinky toenail that it wouldn’t be standard.

Not in my dialect of North American English.

There are exceptional places, which you named, such as school, work, home, etc. Hospital is not one of them. I have never heard “staying in hospital” from anyone who wasn’t British. I have always heard “staying in the hospital”— even though there is more than one hospital.

It’s like temple vs. church vs. mosque. If you say “going to temple” it’s native if you are Jewish. Elsewise, you would have to say “the temple” or “a temple.” As far as I know you always say “mosque” with some sort of determiner.

So, while I don’t doubt that the rule is as you say for the Queen’s English (I’ve heard it myself when I lived in HK), Standard North American does not permit “hospital” used that way. Either that or in this case my English is not Standard North American.

You didn’t misunderstand, but we have different understandings. :wink:

There may even be places in America where you could use “are”, but I would bet my pinky toenail that it wouldn’t be standard.[/quote]

I wadn’t talkin’ ‘bout in America. It’s them there other furriner guys that say are for family. Can you imagine telling Aunt Bessie that Uncle Jeb is “in morgue?” Personally I think it is all easier with be and the. Jeb be in the morgue, Sally be in the kitchen, but Bubba be in trouble.
My Hillbilly is fluent and we damn shure know the difference between good Anglish and that high falutin’ stuff them college professors talk about in college. Sorry, in “the” college. Nope, that ain’t right either. Anyways, you can keep your toenail. I got all mine.

The government “are” :loco: and so is we. In fact we is so neccesarily :loco: that to not be :loco: would amount to another form of :loco:. The kind of :loco: that leads to discussing grammar over the internet on Saturday night.

No offense, but I think nothing bothers me about British English except for y’alls lack of collective nouns. I like the commentary about its prevalence in every language in “takeourword.com”.
PS “maths” bothers me too. I have no good reason. Even reading it makes my skin crawl.
PPS I don’t understand how I come from a family of immigrants yet I’m a curmudgeon.

I guess because mathmatics has an ‘s’ . Unless ya’ll doin’ mathmatic over there.

[quote=“Woodchild”]I always thought that we use zero article when we talk about institutions such as hospital, university, prison…etc. being used for their intended pupose: medical treatment in hospital, therefore. And we use articles when we talk about them as particular places or buildings.

He has to stay in hospital for 2 weeks.
He goes to the hospital to see his friend every day.

Same rule applies to bed.

I stayed in bed till late yesterday.
I put my books on the bed and forgot about them.

So there is nothing wrong in saying “The victims were taken to hospital.”

Maybe I misunderstood your meaning, pui. If so please let me know.[/quote]
Depends on where you’re from.

Institutions like “college”, “school”, “church” and “temple” (especially for Jews) function is the same way in all English-speaking nations (as far as I’m aware). However, Americans do not do this with “hospital” or “university”.

“I graduated from university” and “I was taken to hospital” are not said by Americans (indeed, they sound quite strange to American ears), but are said by Brits, Australians, etc. Don’t know about Canadians.

Do Brits study “mathsematic”?