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Joined: August 12, 2010
Comments posted: 737
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Five eggs is too many

June 30, 2013

Recent Comments*+was%3Aeng_gb_2012%2Ca+number+of+*+were%3Aeng_gb_2012&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t2%3B%2Ca%20number%20of%20*%20was%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20years%20was%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20them%20was%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20men%20was%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20people%20was%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20cases%20was%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20experiments%20was%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20countries%20was%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20ships%20was%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20occasions%20was%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20others%20was%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t2%3B%2Ca%20number%20of%20*%20were%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20them%20were%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20people%20were%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20men%20were%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20persons%20were%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20others%20were%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20which%20were%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20these%20were%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20whom%20were%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20women%20were%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20number%20of%20children%20were%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0

jayles May 25, 2014, 3:40pm

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jayles May 25, 2014, 3:40pm

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The following illustrate deviant behavior of Brits

jayles May 25, 2014, 3:39pm

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@WW me too. I was wondering whether it might be a good idea to explore the usage of "quasi-determiners" (like 'the bulk of', "a great number of", and so on) and maybe come up with a list which are most commonly used with the plural verb even in US English, unless this is already covered in Hewins or somewhere I have missed. For instance:
"The overwhelming majority of students in my class falls asleep within ten minutes".
"The couple on the backseat was kissing". (see ngram below)
"The pair of doves was cooing." (50/50)
"Four pairs of trousers were found in her shopping bag.".
"The pair was inseperable." (not found on ngrams)
I do realise that one could apply the "notiional" agreement concept here; just looking for a shortlist which almost always use plural verb

jayles May 25, 2014, 3:31pm

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In the meantime there seem to be lots more hits on google for phrases like "she texted yesterday" than "she text yesterday"; so at the moment "texted" seems more common.

jayles May 24, 2014, 1:40pm

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It is indeed true that some verbs have changed from the "ablaut" (vowel-change) sytem to the common "regular" inflection system, and a few have gone the other way. So technically there's no reason why "text" shouldn't one day become the standard past form. Stick around a few decades and we'll see.

jayles May 24, 2014, 1:33pm

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Well the Latin plural of innuendo might be innuendis; but really best avoided; hints would be a better word-choice.

jayles May 24, 2014, 9:57am

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"advocating for" as a phrase has upticked dramatically since 1980 in google books, especially in US English. Whether this is use or misuse, or a shift in the language is debatable.

jayles May 22, 2014, 8:16pm

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Or alternatively one could join the Quakers who might accommodate your thou-ward leanings

jayles May 21, 2014, 4:13pm

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Until at least WWI, thou was widespread across a large expanse of Northern England.
It was still used withing the family in Derbyshire in 1970's. For instance, "astha put 'bike in't ginnel?" I think if you went there today and talked to older people you would find it still alive and well. "Art thou" sounds like "artha".
Check out D H Lawrence:

jayles May 21, 2014, 4:06pm

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@WW "Slough is a rather characterless town"
Surely the train station, the mixed bus/pedestrian high street, the Mars factory, the linked traffic lights, a selection of excellent brothels, and a helpful branch of Samaritans, lend it a certain je ne sais quoi. If you go there, please keep an eye out for my virginity.

jayles May 20, 2014, 11:39pm

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see the section on literacy rates - basically simplification has not improved literacy.

The real catch with English is we have about 11 basic vowels but only aeiou and y on our keyboard so some agreed sistem would b kneaded if truely hole-sale change was the goal. One needs to address bakwards compatibility and word-reference books and the whole issue of ASCII/UTF-8/sort-sequence if one includes extra chars.

I do agrree that alternative spellings of -ough words are well worth thinking about.
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jayles May 20, 2014, 4:13pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse family is%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CMy family is%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CMy family are%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CMy family family is%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CMy family is%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CMy family are%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CMy family are%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0

jayles May 19, 2014, 4:12pm

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Ngram must be a very blunt instrument indeed as I still can't get "My family are" to top "My family is" , just lots of "noise" on the former and seemingly rare true instances of family with a plural verb.

/ family is%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CMy family is%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CMy family are%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CMy family are%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0

jayles May 19, 2014, 4:10pm

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@WW thank you ; that just about wraps it up as far as I'm concerned.
Not surprised results for "Each family are" are spurious ; I really expected zero when I keyed it in.

jayles May 19, 2014, 11:22am

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Perhaps the bit about sports commentators was not clear: I meant that just because one can point to a few examples or a particular usage does not prove that it is normal or standard; one needs to establish that the usage is common, widespread, and substantial.

jayles May 19, 2014, 11:17am

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I'm really only interested in what is acceptable in formal writing; specifically for IELTS academic purposes.

jayles May 19, 2014, 2:19am

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Well I haven't seen a transatlantic split in usage yet: all I seem to get is a minumum 3:1 ratio in favor of collective noun+singular verb.

jayles May 18, 2014, 11:50pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse family is%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bthis family is%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BThis family is%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t4%3B%2Cthis family are%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bthis family are%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BThis family are%3Aeng_us_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t4%3B%2Cthis family is%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bthis family is%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BThis family is%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B.t4%3B%2Cthis family are%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bthis family are%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bthis Family are%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BThis family are%3Aeng_gb_2012%3B%2Cc0

jayles May 18, 2014, 11:47pm

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jayles May 18, 2014, 11:43pm

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