Grammar Gobbet #1

Paper Coach : Teach Yourself to Write (A Fiction Writing Course)

I've been reading the grammar books prescribed by the course. Yuck. Let me make it clear: stinko, bleh, yucko, phhhht. As a result, I read them very, very slowly (we'll have to see what, if anything, that means for our first course revision).

However much reviewing grammar is a chore, sometimes I come across a tidbit that startles and intrigues me. In Grammar Gobbets, I'm going to share these intriguing tidbits as riddles.

Here's the first one: which of the following two sentences uses correct grammar?

1. The jury has agreed upon the verdict.
2. The jury have disagreed as to their verdict.


As you might have anticipated, both are correct (I went with the obvious trick question).

A collective noun may be considered singular or plural. It is singular when the word denotes the entire group acting as one (The jury is agreed...), and it is treated as plural when it talks about the individuals in the group (The jury have disagreed...)


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