US Vis-a-Vis UK: Collective Nouns

Damaged Goods

Member
Location
Maryland
(There's a wealth of articles online about the different spellings of the same words but I want to observe something about collective nouns.)

I was taught that collective nouns take singular verbs and to be sure, non-scientific observations of same by American writers reveal this to be the case nearly all of the time.

UK scholars say it depends on the context but, non-scientific observations of work from UK writers reveal that they use plural verbs the overwhelming majority of the time.

Agree? Disagree?
 

Damaged Goods

Member
Location
Maryland
Can you give examples?
Most recently, I just finished:

Hollywood Hellraisers: The Wild Lives and Fast Times of Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper, Warren Beatty, and Jack Nicholson​

but put into the recycle bin which was hauled away the other day.

Anyway, Robt. Sellers used plural verbs 100%. "The family were devastated ...." "The govt. are doing a good job of uncovering..." "His crew experience the thrust of his anger...."
 

Devi

Member
Location
WA USA
You know, I think of that collective use as British. Just from observation over the years. Could be wrong (hey, it could happen!).
 

Damaged Goods

Member
Location
Maryland
You know, I think of that collective use as British. Just from observation over the years. Could be wrong (hey, it could happen!).

Yes, the author is British and it sounds strange to my American ears which were taught to use singular verbs for collective nouns or else get our knuckles rapped :) .

The thing is though that the British scholars seem to imply that all depends on context but from my observations (non-scientific) British authors seem to almost always go plural.

Anyway, we know what they're saying and that's the important thing.
 


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