GDG- Is we is or is we ain't a Union?
atmackeyjr at aol.com
atmackeyjr at aol.com
Sun Jan 22 11:43:59 CST 2012
In his use of verbs he was correct, but he was talking about a historical event causing verb usage, in which case he was not correct.
From: Matt Diestel <agatematt at gmail.com>
To: GDG <gettysburg at arthes.com>
Sent: Sun, Jan 22, 2012 12:19 pm
Subject: Re: GDG- Is we is or is we ain't a Union?
Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
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.
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
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 :-)
As a veteran newspaper editor, let me digitally applaud your
rammatical abilities. One of the constants I have had to correct with
eporters --- especially newly minted ones from the nation's grandest
niversities --- is that there exists this wonderful part of the English
anguage called the collective singular and, thus, it takes a singular
Your use of "team" is a fine example, indeed. Other collective
ingulars like city council, the Congress and, of course, the United States
f America, take singular verbs such as "is," "did" or "has" instead of
are," "does" or "have." As I like to tell my youthful journalistic
harges, "We are all Americans but American is one nation."
And Mr. Foote was, indeed, most correct in his use of verbs.
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