The United States is/are

Aaron E. Drews aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Wed Aug 23 09:23:47 UTC 2000

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM wrote:
> "Aaron E. Drews" <aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK> writes:
> >>>>>
> As for Britain (well, mostly England) referring to the U.S. in the
> plural, it has nothing to do with being a Federal vs. a Confederal
> system.  Countries and large collective nouns (teams, committees,
> government agencies, etc) are treated as plural, although this is
> losing its consistency in practice, I think.
> <<<<<
> Are France plural? (What's a Frant, anyway?)
> "France are part of Europe"? Hardly, I expect, and that's not a political
> joke.

I think it would be "are", although I can't recall having heard the
plural in this way.

> "France have won the World Cup"? Maybe. Or does that refer to the team?

Definitely.  I just heard this morning on chldren's television in a
pseudo-reinactment of Euro 2000, the presenter said "and Romania are
through to the finals".

> "France have pulled out of the negotiations"? That's political; is it
> well-formed?

Yes, it is well-formed.

I'm not sure when a singular would be used, if at all.  I'll keep my ear
out since Europe, the European Commission, France, Germany, etc. are
often in the 'local' news.  I'll see if I can find some printed quotes,
too, although I never read the sports section.

I think "Brussels" takes the singular, although I'm not sure at all.


Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh
aaron at                  Departments of English Language and       Theoretical & Applied  Linguistics

Bide lang an fa fair
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