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Author Topic: Is this correct, were vs was?  (Read 152 times)

Offline Capler

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Is this correct, were vs was?
« on: August 24, 2019, 12:27:34 PM »
I read this on CNN a few minutes ago,

(CNN)As a young Texas couple were leaving the courthouse for their wedding ceremony, their car collided with a pickup truck, killing both of them, according to CNN affiliate KFDM.


A young couple is singular, their wedding, and their car refers to both of them.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2019, 12:34:53 PM by Capler »

Offline Strike79

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Re: Is this correct, were vs was?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2019, 02:36:21 PM »
Cap^^^the word “couple” is an example of what’s called a “collective” noun because it suggests/denotes more than one person, place or thing. It’s not actually a “singular” noun.

However, I think most grammarians would agree with you that the singular form of the verb should be used with the collective noun. So in your example^^^it is more appropriate/acceptable to state the couple “was” doing such and such.

But one of the many quirks of the English language - and what makes it such a difficult language for non speakers to learn - is that the usage changes over time. What is acceptable usage today may very well not be decades from now.  :shrug:

Curious to know what others think.  ;)

Offline Capler

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Re: Is this correct, were vs was?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2019, 03:55:13 PM »
Thanks Strike. I was wondering if the writer had actually used it correctly. Like you said, these things change over time. If the majority uses it a certain way, over time it become standard.  'Literally' comes to mind as an another example.  Young people use the term all the time, and most are not using it correctly. We old heads use it correctly. No one uses the word gay to express happiness. As a matter of fact, the joy, happiness meaning will probably get dropped from the dictionary at some point in the future. Booty is another.

Offline Golden Kitten

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Re: Is this correct, were vs was?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2019, 03:56:38 PM »
Agree with both of you... :nod:


Teeny and Little

Online klg14

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Re: Is this correct, were vs was?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2019, 04:04:18 PM »
FYI -
"Collective Nouns - Are they singular or plural?" (Grammar Girl)
https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/collective-nouns
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Offline Capler

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Re: Is this correct, were vs was?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2019, 06:17:59 PM »
FYI -
"Collective Nouns - Are they singular or plural?" (Grammar Girl)
https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/collective-nouns

Mass noun, never hear that before. After listening to this, I see how others find english to be complicated. Thanks k.

Offline Strike79

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Re: Is this correct, were vs was?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2019, 07:38:59 PM »
Agree with both of you... :nod:
:)......you’re being very modest, but was hoping that you’d chime in. Really wanted to read your prospective about this being the former journalist and all.

Appreciate you, GK.  :)

Offline cee dog

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Re: Is this correct, were vs was?
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2019, 01:12:57 AM »
Don't ask me. Shut I'm from Bankhead. I just learnt how to say Street instead of Skreet.  :thefan:
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Offline Capler

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Re: Is this correct, were vs was?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2019, 11:13:10 AM »
Don't ask me. Shut I'm from Bankhead. I just learnt how to say Street instead of Skreet.  :thefan:

I'm familiar with Buckhead, what is Bankhead? I assume it's the opposite.

Online klg14

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July 4, 1881 - A Great Day in History...

"Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve."  - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” - Neil Gaiman

Offline cee dog

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Re: Is this correct, were vs was?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2019, 09:48:16 PM »
In Buckhead they have butlers. On Bankhead we have burglar bars.  :lmao:

Don't ask me. Shut I'm from Bankhead. I just learnt how to say Street instead of Skreet.  :thefan:

I'm familiar with Buckhead, what is Bankhead? I assume it's the opposite.
"Bulldog for Life"

Online Que82

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Re: Is this correct, were vs was?
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2019, 09:51:54 PM »
In Buckhead they have butlers. On Bankhead we have burglar bars.  :lmao:

Don't ask me. Shut I'm from Bankhead. I just learnt how to say Street instead of Skreet.  :thefan:

I'm familiar with Buckhead, what is Bankhead? I assume it's the opposite.
:lmao:
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