[Taxacom] Family names are plural. Period

Laurent Raty l.raty at skynet.be
Thu Feb 21 07:58:34 CST 2008

> Expert opinion is quite clear that collective nouns can be either 
> singular or plural in construction - see, for example, the links I 
> gave in an earlier posting. Obviously the same reasoning can be 
> applied to taxonomic names, whether or not they are strictly 
> collective nouns.

Collective nouns (committee, crew, herd, jury, clergy, government,
family, etc...) are singular in form, yet can be plural in construction,
when referring to the group members as individuals.
An application to taxonomic names would be that you should be free to
use constructions like "Tenebrio are", when referring to the different
species in the genus as individuals.

I don't think this is relevant to the correctness of "Tenebrionidae is",
which is the exact opposite situation - you use a name that is plural in
form in a singular construction.
Family names are more like plural aggregate nouns - words like
communications, arms, goods, outskirts, remains, troops, barracks,
dregs... Do you use these in singular constructions?

Laurent -

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