GDG- FW: CW Discrencies

cameron2 at cameron2 at
Sun Jan 22 08:55:32 CST 2012

<<  Example: Shelby claimed that it was the Civil War that caused the 
grammatical change from referring to "the United States are" to "the United States 
is." That's pure hogwash. It was part of the evolution of American 
English from British English. "United States" is a collective noun. Even 
today, British English refers to collective nouns in the plural, such as "the 
team are playing tomorrow." In American English, we now refer to collective 
nouns in the singular, such as "the team is playing tomorrow.

Best Regards,
Al Mackey  >>

The language was (as it always is) in a state of flux.  Reading newspaper and other publications of the time you'll find such usages as "The enemy are approaching", but also what we would now consider the more correct "the enemy is approaching."
There's the story of the New York newspaper editor (I forget which one) who, wedded to the collective plural usage, would ask the reporters in his newsroom "Are there any news?"   To which one of his reporters would always reply, "No, not a single new."

Jim Cameron  

More information about the Gettysburg mailing list