[Taxacom] Family names are plural. Period

Robin Leech releech at telusplanet.net
Wed Feb 20 22:11:28 CST 2008


Neal is right regarding what people think regarding what is read
in Wikipedia as being the Gospel.
I speak Canadian, but I understand American and English and
Kiwi and Aussie and....
I am glad there are differences, real differences.
Robin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Neal Evenhuis" <neale at bishopmuseum.org>
To: "Dick Jensen" <rjensen at saintmarys.edu>; "Richard Pyle" 
<deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>; <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>; "'Michael A. 
Ivie'" <mivie at montana.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 6:34 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Family names are plural. Period


> At 8:01 PM -0500 2/20/08, Dick Jensen wrote:
>>As my final word on this, I don't care what the nature of a word is
>>(singular or plural, Latin or German or English), it is common in
>>English usage to treat collectives as singular when refering to all
>>members of the group as a single entity.  Despite the quibble with
>>my example of "Los Angeles are a city," I will close by noting that
>>"The Unites States of America is a member of the U.N. Security
>>Council."
>>
>
> "common in English usage" is not necessarily true.
>
> As we all know, whatever is in Wikipedia is the truth and beyond
> reproach, so here's my 2 cents/pence worth from Wikipedia's
> differences between British English and American English ...
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_differences
>
> ...that pertains to this thread:
>
> Nouns
>
> Formal and notional agreement
> In BrE, collective nouns can take either singular (formal agreement)
> or plural (notional agreement) verb forms, according to whether the
> emphasis is, respectively, on the body as a whole or on the
> individual members; compare a committee was appointed... with the
> committee were unable to agree....[5][6] Compare also the following
> lines of Elvis Costello's song "Oliver's Army": Oliver's Army are on
> their way / Oliver's Army is here to stay. Some of these nouns, for
> example staff,[7] actually combine with plural verbs most of the time.
> In AmE, collective nouns are usually singular in construction: the
> committee was unable to agree... AmE however may use plural pronouns
> in agreement with collective nouns: the team takes their seats,
> rather than the team takes its seats. The rule of thumb is that a
> group acting as a unit is considered singular and a group of
> "individuals acting separately" is considered plural.[8] However,
> such a sentence would most likely be recast as the team members take
> their seats. Despite exceptions such as usage in the New York Times,
> the names of sports teams are usually treated as plurals even if the
> form of the name is singular.[9]
> The difference occurs for all nouns of multitude, both general terms
> such as team and company and proper nouns (for example, where a place
> name is used to refer to a sports team). For instance,
> BrE: The Clash are a well-known band; AmE: The Clash is a well-known band.
> BrE: New York are the champions; AmE: New York is the champion.
> Proper nouns that are plural in form take a plural verb in both AmE
> and BrE; for example, The Beatles are a well-known band; The Giants
> are the champions.
>
> ... and yes... the Giants ARE indeed the champions!
>
>
>
> But I'm still unsure why the British refer to bees as "going to
> blossom" rather than "going to blossoms" as they most assuredly go to
> more than one.
>
> However, I suppose I really can't knock that convention since it
> saves the use of one letter and sort of contraindicates their use of
> -ue endings such as "catalogue" or additional letters such as
> "orientate" rather than simply "orient" where we Americans are trying
> to save printer cartridge ink by not using those superfluous ending
> letters. ;-)
>
> "Hopefully" this will not engender too much hate mail....
>
> -Neal
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