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Question about plurals in the English language.

kenny

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When I learned English in America in the 1960s we'd say and write, "The Ronnettes was an American girl group ...".

Wiki now writes:
Screen Shot 2021-01-17 at 8.45.25 PM.png

It's not just this example.
In the last few years I've noticed zillions of examples of this.

... The French Olympic team are (instead of is) ...
... etc.

Since today I consume much more media from Britain than from America I wondered whether British English just had different rules about plurals than did American English.

But now I'm wondering if they don't, and this is just more of modern lazy abandonment of grammatical rules.
... We wouldn't want to stunt Jonny and Janet's potential by making them learn or memorize anything.
If little Jonny says 2+2=5, who are we to damage this special snowflake?

Or does British English really have different rules about plurals?

Penny for your thoughts.
 

josieKat

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British English can take either the singular or the plural for collective nouns (like team, government, band) depending on how they are conceptualized - as either a group of individuals or as a single entity, although some stick with one or the other primarily (e.g., the government are ...). In American English we almost always use the plural for collective nouns.
 

Karl_K

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When Kenny meets Kenny is it called the Kennies??
 

foxinsox

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When I learned English in America in the 1960s we'd say and write, "The Ronnettes was an American girl group ...".

Wiki now writes:
Screen Shot 2021-01-17 at 8.45.25 PM.png

It's not just this example.
In the last few years I've noticed zillions of examples of this.

... The French Olympic team are (instead of is) ...
... etc.

Since today I consume much more media from Britain than from America I wondered whether British English just had different rules about plurals than did American English.

But now I'm wondering if they don't, and this is just more of modern lazy abandonment of grammatical rules.
... We wouldn't want to stunt Jonny and Janet's potential by making them learn or memorize anything.
If little Jonny says 2+2=5, who are we to damage this special snowflake?

Penny for your thoughts.
It’ll be language change in action - this is pretty much always negatively typed as laziness or poor education by earlier generations who don’t speak the particular variation under change.
 

MrsBlue

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Jan 30, 2013
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I was inspired to read the Wiki article you posted. Washington Heights and Spanish Harlem are two separate NYC neighborhoods that don't even border each other. I wonder why they seem to conflate the neighborhoods in this article as well as other bios.
 

Austina

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When I was at school, we were taught that in the case of a single person, then that person IS annoying, whereas a group of people ARE annoying :lol:
 

kenny

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I found something supporting the plural thing being a British vs. American English thing.
My bad for bringing it here, instead of googling it. :(sad

Partial snip:

Grammar differences​

"Aside from spelling and vocabulary, there are certain grammar differences between British and American English.
For instance, in American English, collective nouns are considered singular (e.g. The band is playing).
In contrast, collective nouns can be either singular or plural in British English, although the plural form is most often used (e.g. The band are playing)."


Source


After reading this my teeth will itch less when I come across this in writing that was published by a professional entity. :))
My immune system has already developed antibodies to poor grammar and spelling in what is written by the unwashed masses, myself included.
 
Last edited:

kenny

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I also find it interesting to observe how the mind operates for this kind of stuff.

My American-educated mind says ...
'The band' is one single thing.
Sure, a band has more than one member, but the form of the verb to use is determined by how many things the verb describes.
That's why the verb should be singular ... The band is playing.
Of course if multiple bands are playing at the same time it would be ... The bands are playing.

If I had been educated in Britain my mind would say ...
The band has more than one member.
That's why the verb should be plural ... The band are playing.
(Reading that makes my teeth itch.)

It's so interesting how my mind goes a little haywire when it encounters, in professional publications, what it was trained to see as a broken rule.
Brains are wired to identify and desperately cling to, and sometimes fight for, what the mind has accepted to be "RIGHT".
But things like language are merely agreements made by powerful academics, not handed down from on high.

This quality of the mind is of course essential to functioning (e.g. what's the right thing to do when a driver sees a red light?) but it can also be a terrible thing.
At worse excessive passion for enforcing what some consider to be right can result in people flying commercial jets into buildings, the Crusades, the Holocaust, or denying rights to citizens.
 
Last edited:

monarch64

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If the word "band" was meant to imply something like "of musicians" I can understand how one form of the English language dropped the "of musicians" and henceforth everyone assumed the term "band" to be plural and just carried on using the plural verb. It doesn't sound correct to me but that doesn't mean that both are incorrect or one or the other HAS to be correct. It isn't generally accepted in American English, but again, that's not to say it is grammatically incorrect.

Kenny, I was just reading up on the Ronettes a couple of days ago when it was reported that Phil Spector had died. Is that where your Ronettes reference came from as well?
 

kenny

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Yes monarch, Specter's passing is why I looked into The Ronettes.
This verb-plural disparity is more often encountered these days since the Internet has shrunk the world.

I think the Internet has already resulted in many changes in languages, and this will accelerate in the future.

I'm glad I now understand this plural thing is a UK vs. USA thing.
 
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