Which Joe gave his name to ‘sloppy joes’? We look at five interesting sandwiches and their lexical origins.
A count noun that denotes a group of individuals (e.g. assembly, family, crew).
- ‘In American usage, a collective noun takes a singular verb when it refers to the collection considered as a whole, as in The family was united on this question.’
- ‘I've always thought of elite as a collective noun - when people talk about ‘an elite,’ I assume they're referring to particular group and not simply a person who has elite characteristics.’
- ‘Some of the questions that the students had to answer were: What is the collective noun of dolphins, the last Ms. World from India, the Roman equivalent of Lord Karthikeya and so on.’
- ‘In the first place, it raises the issue of whether collective nouns like ‘committee’ are singular or plural, from the point of view of verb agreement as well as pronoun choice.’
- ‘What these two would-be grammar gurus are talking about here is mass nouns, not collective nouns.’
A collective noun can be used with either a singular verb (my family was always hard-working) or a plural verb (his family were disappointed in him). Generally speaking, in Britain it is more usual for collective nouns to be followed by a plural verb, while in the US the opposite is true. Notice that, if the verb is singular, any following pronouns must be too: the government is prepared to act, but not until it knows the outcome of the latest talks (not … until they know the outcome …)
We take a look at several popular, though confusing, punctuation marks.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, discover surprising and intriguing language facts from around the globe.
The definitions of ‘buddy’ and ‘bro’ in the OED have recently been revised. We explore their history and increase in popularity.