anonymous
  • anonymous
When in the case of collective nouns, why do we sometimes use plural verbs. For instance, "The committee have decided" And can you explain a means to distinguish this?
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schrodinger
  • schrodinger
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lgbasallote
  • lgbasallote
you use "The committee" as singular if the verb done is singular (which means the verb is done as one or in other words united) for example: The committee decides the fate of the convicted murderers We use "decides" because the committee functions as one you usually use "committee" as plural if there are two or more sides doing the verb. for example: The committee are arguing whether the bill should be passed or not we use "are" because the committee obviously cannot argue as ONE. Therefore,to have an argument, there are two or more sides. So, you use "are" does that help?
cathyangs
  • cathyangs
Huh. I've never seen this way of wording. I've always heard collective nouns treated as singular, as in "The committee has decided". I would think that for two or more sides, you would still use a collective noun as singular. For example: The class was debating the merits of a dress code. "The class was debating the merits of a dress code" doesn't seem to flow, and sounds very unnatural to me. In my personal opinion, I would use singular descriptive words http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/collective+noun Read the bit on American English and British English, if you have some time.
ParthKohli
  • ParthKohli
Cathyags is very, very correct with his English in this case; we do use a singular collective nouns.

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lgbasallote
  • lgbasallote
@ParthKohli and @cathyangs no..you use collective nouns is plural...like i have said above.. see here http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/collectivenoun.htm
lgbasallote
  • lgbasallote
you can use collective nouns as plural*
wach
  • wach
'The committee have decided' is actually wrong. For all collective nouns, you would use the singular ('has') . Cathyangs is correct.
anonymous
  • anonymous
I appreciate your input but I believe lgbasallote is correct, you can use it as a plural or a singular noun. http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/Collective-Nouns.topicArticleId-251279,articleId-251209.html
anonymous
  • anonymous
I feel like it is only a result of personal preference. I honestly have never seen it used this way before.
anonymous
  • anonymous
What Cliffnotes is insinuating is that you may use either plural or singular but in some case could the plural and the singular both be correct?
lgbasallote
  • lgbasallote
people usually get confused with using collective nouns that's why it's usually mistaken to be singular always. That's why you rarely hear it used correctly and no you cant use collective nouns as plural AND singular. it's like looking left and right at the same time.
wach
  • wach
So it's more of a colloquialism? I am really curious as to what the correct answer is, now. :/
lgbasallote
  • lgbasallote
no it's not a colloquialism. collective nouns really function as plural or singular, depending on the verb. like i said before, collective nouns are one big noun composed of smaller nouns. for example, a council is composed of councilors. If these councilors function as one, then they function *collectively* so council will be used as singular. However, if the councilors are separated, then they are plural because singular is only for.. well single or one. So, council will be used as plural. However, people usually tend to use collective nouns as singular and for plural, they just use something like council members. So they won't make mistakes and get humiliated. That is probably why a lot of you don't know that collective nouns function as plural too because it is rarely used
anonymous
  • anonymous
Thank you, lgbasallote.
wach
  • wach
Thanks for sharing your knowledge, then. : )

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