Statement about collective nouns in English

Mary AnneC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Statement about collective nouns in English

Collective nouns, such as family, team, and company are singular. The pronoun that would refer to these particular nouns is "it." A speaker may change to "they" but the speakers would be referring to family members, players, or employees. One would right, "A spokesperson for the company announced that it is profitable."
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonsoir Mary Anne, Here is a reply from Aurélie dated 6 May 2016 that may provide more insight: «When talking in a general context, French people would use the term la police rather than la gendarmerie, as such: La police va arrêter le criminel. ​Actually, as a French speaker, I find that la gendarmerie refers more to the station than the people. ​In this case, we would rather use les gendarmes when talking about them, so the following answer is also correct:​ ​Les gendarmes vont arrêter le criminel.» I do agree with your observation: «my family, yes, they are well. . » My guess is that you are from the US based on your choice of pronouns in these examples. I am unaware of how other English speaking countries speak using pronouns in discussing these subjects. A very good point.
Mary AnneC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Yes. I am from the US. Interesting. I think we would say, "The family is good. The complement of a verb of "being" is a predicate adjective. "The food is good; the movie was good."
RichardC1Kwiziq community member

Being English, I would agree that we should say ‘the family is’, ‘the management wants’ etc, but many people do make the mistake of using the plural verb. However, I also agree that you could answer ‘they are well’, referring to the family members, when asked ‘how’s the family’. 

BUT - I think it’s a grave mistake for Kwizical/Lawless French to say ‘the family are’!  I’m not being overly pedantic, I think. 

Mary AnneC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I can't believe I wrote "right" when I meant "write."  Oh , dear!

Statement about collective nouns in English

Collective nouns, such as family, team, and company are singular. The pronoun that would refer to these particular nouns is "it." A speaker may change to "they" but the speakers would be referring to family members, players, or employees. One would right, "A spokesperson for the company announced that it is profitable."

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