GDG- Is we is or is we ain't a Union?

Matt Diestel agatematt at
Sun Jan 22 11:19:08 CST 2012

> Esteemed GDG Member Dennis Lawrence Contributes:
>   In American English, we  now refer to collective
>> nouns in the singular, such as "the team is playing  tomorrow.
>>  Hello,
>     Teaching collective nouns and agreement with its  verb was always
> difficult for me.
>  If it is as an action being done  as a single unit, "the team is playing
> tomorrow" is correct.  However, if it is done individually, it would be"
> the team are showering."
> Rather awkward to the ear so usually we  see "the team members are
> showering."
> So while Foote  may not be right about when the change  occurred,
> grammatically he was right on target with the significance.  Acting as a
> unit the correct grammar is  "the United States is", which is what  Lincoln
> claimed.  Acting as individual entities, "the United States are", which is
> what secessionists claimed
> After the Civil War, Reconstruction of the union was accompanied by
> Reconstructing the grammatical connections :-)
> Take Care
> Dennis

    As a veteran newspaper editor, let me digitally applaud your
grammatical abilities. One of the constants I have had to correct with
reporters --- especially newly minted ones from the nation's grandest
universities --- is that there exists this wonderful part of the English
language called the collective singular and, thus, it takes a singular
    Your use of "team" is a fine example, indeed. Other collective
singulars like city council, the Congress and, of course, the United States
of America, take singular verbs such as "is," "did" or "has" instead of
"are," "does" or "have."  As I like to tell my youthful journalistic
charges, "We are all Americans but American is one nation."
     And Mr. Foote was, indeed, most correct in his use of verbs.
                 With regards,

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