Inverneill House (off-topic grammar divergence comment)

Bruce Herbold

Message 60189 · 4 Jan 2011 19:37:31 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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This does seem to be a general trend, but at least amongst US english
speakers it varies a lot. The (singular) country we live in is called the
United States of America, but one will often you hear a(n) US English
speaker use both singular and plural third person verb forms:

"The United States today is launching a mission to Neptune... "

or

"the United States are beginning to reconsider reaffiliation with the
British Empire..."
it's such a lovely language -- glad I didn't have to try learning it as a
second tongue.
I am fluent in it, amn't I?

Bruce Herbold
San Francisco
On Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 9:06 AM, <Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxx.xxx> wrote:

> In a message dated 1/4/2011 5:30:51 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,
> xxxxxxxx.xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xx.xx writes:
>
> The BBC are showing a TV programme...
> I have now long noticed this particular divergence between British and
> American English, which seems to be a strong trend more than anything black
> and white, but "the BBC are..." seems fairly typically British from what I
> have seen and heard and yet still nowadays is somewhat jarring to the ears
> and eyes of Americans, who would much more typically write or say "the BBC
> is
> showing..." given that the BBC is a singular entity and that the "C" is
> Corporation. I noticed the same regarding news writing spoken reporting
> about William and Kate, the couple are/is planning or expecting to do this
> or
> that or that the couple plan/plans or expect/expects, whatever the verb may
> have been, a plural verb in the British usage, a singular one in the
> American. I also recall somebody's recent Strathspey post from Britain
> using a
> plural verb with "the RSCDS," and it was, even while recognizing this as
> typical nowadays, not to mention most likely considered completely correct
> and
> appropriate, per British usage, very jarring to me as an American to read
> that "the RSCDS are" (or whatever the plural verb used at the time may have
> been). I don't know when this typical divergence of usage may have first
> occurred. I can only assume that the British usage, now, as I have found,
> quite universal and typical for Britain (and perhaps elsewhere as well in
> the English-speaking world), is the more recently evolved usage and the
> more
> typically American usage the more traditional, as a singular noun, even a
> collective singular noun, traditionally in English grammar requires a
> third-person singular verb.
>
> Robb Quint
> Thousand Oaks, CA, USA
>
>

--
Bruce Herbold

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