England win the Ashes!

Napoleon

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I just can't get over the British use of plural verbs when speaking about a single unit that is made up of several people.

1) Countries
2) Soccer/Football teams
3) National Cricket teams (in this case)

It is a single unit. The "English Team". One team, not many teams... and yet they use of the 3rd person plural form of the verb.

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That being said, several of my English friends (and in particular, my friend Archibald) are probably pretty excited about this. "Friends are." "England wins."

Whatever...

Congratulations!
 

RWS

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Napoleon said:
I just can't get over the British use of plural verbs when speaking about a single unit that is made up of several people. . . .
That's to accord with what's called a "collective noun" (e.g., "the society have commenced their annual meeting"). Its use antedates our American ignorance of the collective noun and, instead, insistence upon a strict plural (thank the British "Latinizers" of three centuries ago for that insistence, as also for bars against "splitting an infinitive" or ending a sentence with a preposition).
 

Moxon

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In cricket when referring to England, one is actually using an abbreviated version of the full term 'England and some South African cast offs' and so when expanded the sentence correctly reads: 'England and some South African cast offs win the Ashes'.
 

steveinbsas

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RWS said:
That's to accord with what's called a "collective noun" (e.g., "the society have commenced their annual meeting"). Its use antedates our American ignorance of the collective noun and, instead, insistence upon a strict plural (thank the British "Latinizers" of three centuries ago for that insistence, as for bars against "splitting an infinitive" or ending a sentence with a preposition).
What??? I'm not supposed to use a preposition to end a sentence with? What did they make that rule for?

Thanks God no one judges me on my English here. Otherwise I'd have to find another country to move to.
 

RWS

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'Can't say that I've ever enjoyed the linguistic dabblings of the Latinizers. As for the rest of their writings, though: many a lovely summer's afternoon.

And, no, though some well-educated Argentines do speak and write good English, the usual level seems to be about that of the typical American today: late-twentieth-century telespeak. Perhaps Hume & co. had a point after all.
 

RWS

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Not to pick on any fellow poster (so this excerpt from another thread in this forum will remain unattributed) but, rather, to show friend Napoleon that another apparent lack of numerical agreement is increasingly common in American English (and this, for reasons no wiser than those offered by the Latinizers of the past): ". . . wondering if anybody has used the service, and what their experiences were" (my emphases).

To my mind and aesthetic, this is much more jarring: the writer has acknowledged that "anybody" is singular ("has") but just a few words later forgets that fact ("their", referring to the singular "anybody"). I suppose that the forgetfulness is compounded of a desire to be "politically correct" (we mustn't favor the masculine over the feminine!) and an ignorance of grammar (in modern English, the humane neuter or "inspecific" gender -- not to be confused with "sex" -- takes a form identical with the masculine).

Any other thoughts? Or should we simply content ourselves with "you know?"
 

Napoleon

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"Anybody" is absolutely singular and "their" is absolutely plural. And yet, I rather say "their" than "his or her"...

I'm thinking that we need to invent a neuter possessive adjective that describes humans and not just things.

OH, and I continue to congratulate England on their accomplishment. :eek:
 

esllou

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Collective nouns used like this are also standard in American English outside of sports teams.

"Police are investigating the accident."

Just that American English doesn't count sports teams in this. So let's turn the question around - why not?
 
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