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Singular or Plural?

英語を勉強している方のためのフォーラムです。練習のために英語の文章を投稿してもかまわなく、英語の文法・語彙に関する質問をしてもけっこうです。

Singular or Plural?

Postby astaroth » Mon 11.09.2009 7:07 pm

I had this conversion with a friend about whether to use singular or plural when referring to bands or more generally to groups of people referred to by the name of the group. The actual sentence was "Kula Shaker have arrived" (Kula Shaker is a band this friend of mine is fan of), which to me sounds a bit off in English and I would have said "Kula Shaker has arrived", but I'm not really sure ...

In Italian (my friend is Italian too) we use the plural but the presence of the article makes it easy to understand the meaning, for instance "i Kula Shaker sono arrivati" obviously in Italian "i" is the plural form of the article.
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Re: Singular or Plural?

Postby keatonatron » Mon 11.09.2009 7:35 pm

This is called a collective noun, and should be treated as singular. You were correct.

http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/nouncollective.htm
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Re: Singular or Plural?

Postby Sairana » Mon 11.09.2009 8:41 pm

Confusingly, it's also pretty normal to use the plural if the band made their name plural, such as "The Blasting Candies". ^_^
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Re: Singular or Plural?

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Mon 11.09.2009 11:16 pm

I don't think it's technically correct, though. "The Blasting Candies is here" sounds perfectly fine to me, knowing that The Blasting Candies is a band.
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Re: Singular or Plural?

Postby keatonatron » Tue 11.10.2009 8:10 am

Sairana wrote:Confusingly, it's also pretty normal to use the plural if the band made their name plural, such as "The Blasting Candies". ^_^


lonelytraveler8 wrote:I don't think it's technically correct, though. "The Blasting Candies is here" sounds perfectly fine to me, knowing that The Blasting Candies is a band.


Both are acceptable depending on situation and personal preference/dialect. "The Blasting Candies is here" sounds fine, but "The Beatles is here" sounds strange (probably because we've personified their name, and end up with sentences like "Which Beatle is your favorite?")

Also, plurality seems to follow context: If you want to say "The Blasting Candies is a band", "a band" is singular so "is" must also be singular. For a sentence like "The Blasting Candies were drinking so much at the gig, they ended up paying the club!", the band is being treated as individuals (they can't all drink one drink as a collaborative effort), so the verb takes the plural.
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Re: Singular or Plural?

Postby astaroth » Tue 11.10.2009 10:13 am

Thanks. That helped a lot.
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Re: Singular or Plural?

Postby pm215 » Thu 11.12.2009 11:29 pm

I think UK English tends to use the plural for band names (and for other collective nouns at least some of the time, as keatonatron's link says). Searching news.bbc.co.uk for band names you get examples like "Snow Patrol have been nominated for three BRIT Awards". So your friend was right too :-)
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