This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Nuts and Bolts: singular plurals.

The banana hit the teacher on the nose.

That's one banana and one teacher: we know this because the words banana and teacher don't end in s.

Simple?

Well...

How about the words news and physics?

Still simple. They do look like plurals, but they're not, so we say the news is good, physics is fascinating, etc.

How about the words audience and police?

Still simple. They look like singulars, but they're not: the police have arrested a man, etc.

How about data and media?

Still simple. They're plurals, but using them as plurals is beginning to sound old-fashioned and pedantic, so we can choose whether to be pedantic or trendy: the data are corrupted (pedantic); the media is out to get him (trendy). 

How about Manchester United Football Club? And family? And team? The team is doing well; the team are going to Norway. Um...

...no one seems to be sure whether those are plurals or not.

Sorry.

Word To Use Today: a word that's neither reliably singular or plural.

By the way, the word news does consist of the initials of North, East, West and South, but, sadly, that's nothing to do with how the word originated.





2 comments:

  1. Do you say " The Govt is" or the Govt are?" I always say is, I think but will watch myself to see if that's true.

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  2. I would say "Arsenal are doing well". Or I would do if they weren't below Tottenham.

    ReplyDelete