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strathspey@strathspey.org:44653

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  • Volleyballjerry

    Volleyballjerry March 12, 2006, 8:01 p.m. (Message 44653)

    Re: singular vs. plural verb

    In a message dated 03/11/2006 7:44:53 PM Pacific Standard Time, 
    xxxxx.xxxxx@xxxxx.xxx writes:
    
    > The RSCDS .. "IS"  It is a single organization 
    > RSCDS dancers, members etc .. "ARE"  As a collective group.
    > 
    > USA as the name of a country .. "IS"  It is a single country.
    > USA as a collective group of States .. "ARE"  
    
    
    I don't think anyone questions that when a singular collective noun becomes 
    an adjective and is followed by a true plural, then the verb is plural:
    
    "RSCDS dancers are friendly folks."
    
    A structural plural which denotes an organization is followed by a singular, 
    we seem to agree:
    
    "The United States is a member of the U.N." / "The states of the U.S. are not 
    equal in size."
    "The United Arab Emirates is (sing.) located on the Arabian Peninsula." / 
    "The members of the U.A.E. include (pl.) Dubai."
    
    The point of difference, which form of the verb to use with a structurally 
    plural subject which denotes a collective, as has been otherwise confirmed, 
    seems to be an A.E./ B.E. difference.
    
    Under virtually any circumstance, "The group are/were..., the team 
    are/were..., the RSCDS are/were..." is jarring to American ears, but seems to be 
    colloquially acceptable (and otherwise correct?) to British ears.
    
    Robb Quint
    Thousand Oaks, CA, USA 
          

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