singular/plural grammar help needed

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JJDancer
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singular/plural grammar help needed

Postby JJDancer » Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:54 pm

Ok In my PS I talk about working at the central office of a school system.
Example: Miami Dade County Public Schools.

If I refer to it by the acronym MDPS and talk about it, should I speak in the plural or singular?

Example: "lawsuits that MDPS was facing"
or "were facing".
I want to say the first one since it isn't individual schools that are facing but rather the school system. Or should I just write "lawsuits that the MDPS system was facing" for clarification?

Thanks.

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mrmangs
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Re: singular/plural grammar help needed

Postby mrmangs » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:00 pm

As long as the system itself is referred to as MDPS you'll be fine using the singular. Think about "the United States." The United States is comprised of a bunch of states, but it's a singular entity (i.e., a country). Similarly, we say "the US is..." instead of the "the US are..."

WayBryson
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Re: singular/plural grammar help needed

Postby WayBryson » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:53 pm

Do a quick internet search on 'family nouns.'

WayBryson
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Re: singular/plural grammar help needed

Postby WayBryson » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:18 pm

Here is a write up on collective nouns.

http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/collectivenoun.htm

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4for44
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Re: singular/plural grammar help needed

Postby 4for44 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:22 pm

mrmangs wrote:As long as the system itself is referred to as MDPS you'll be fine using the singular. Think about "the United States." The United States is comprised of a bunch of states, but it's a singular entity (i.e., a country). Similarly, we say "the US is..." instead of the "the US are..."


Interestingly enough until about WWI the common usage was the "the United States are" not is... It has been a shift in seeing our country as a singular entity at the federal level rather than a collection of states.

So for this the question is: "are" the schools (as a plural indivuals) facing the suit or "is" the entity MPDS as a conglomerate facing the suit.

WayBryson
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Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:24 pm

Re: singular/plural grammar help needed

Postby WayBryson » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:31 pm

4for44 wrote:
mrmangs wrote:As long as the system itself is referred to as MDPS you'll be fine using the singular. Think about "the United States." The United States is comprised of a bunch of states, but it's a singular entity (i.e., a country). Similarly, we say "the US is..." instead of the "the US are..."


Interestingly enough until about WWI the common usage was the "the United States are" not is... It has been a shift in seeing our country as a singular entity at the federal level rather than a collection of states.

So for this the question is: "are" the schools (as a plural indivuals) facing the suit or "is" the entity MPDS as a conglomerate facing the suit.


This.

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mrmangs
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Re: singular/plural grammar help needed

Postby mrmangs » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:40 pm

4for44 wrote:
mrmangs wrote:As long as the system itself is referred to as MDPS you'll be fine using the singular. Think about "the United States." The United States is comprised of a bunch of states, but it's a singular entity (i.e., a country). Similarly, we say "the US is..." instead of the "the US are..."


Interestingly enough until about WWI the common usage was the "the United States are" not is... It has been a shift in seeing our country as a singular entity at the federal level rather than a collection of states.

So for this the question is: "are" the schools (as a plural indivuals) facing the suit or "is" the entity MPDS as a conglomerate facing the suit.


This is generally a good way to think about family nouns. However, keep in mind that "the United States," "the Rolling Stones," etc., are technically proper names. In virtue of this fact, they refer to singular entities. If you want to refer to individual members, do so explicitly (e.g., "the members of the United States," "the musicians in the Rolling Stones," etc.). I assumed that the school district itself was being sued in your example, but if it's instead the members individually, say "the members of the MDPS." Given the nature of lawsuits, both the school district as a singular entity AND the individual schools may very well have been sued. In that case, I would just stick with referring to MDPS as a singular entity.

In any case, this is pretty trivial and I wouldn't fret too much about usage here.




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