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Could you settle an argument...

(26 Posts)
CardyMow Mon 05-Sep-11 23:22:01

Between my 9yo DS1 and I? On one of his computer games, there is a sentence that reads : A gang of vicious muggers is running through the town. I insist that the sentence is gramatically correct. DS1 is insisting that the sentence should read : A gang of vicious muggers are running through the town.

I have tried to explain to him that if the sentence was : Vicious muggers are running through the town, then are would be correct, but a gang makes it a collective singular doesn't it? I'm probably totally wrong, as it's been far too long since I have had to think about things like this, so could you settle this for us please?

Cleverything Mon 05-Sep-11 23:23:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CouldIBEAnyMoreChaotic Mon 05-Sep-11 23:24:17

You are a righteous mutha.


CardyMow Mon 05-Sep-11 23:24:32

I wasn't 100% sure - it's been 16 years since I left school! So how do I explain a collective singular to a fairly clever 9yo that seems to learn none of these things at school?

LawrieMarlow Mon 05-Sep-11 23:25:12

You are right.

The "is" refers to the gang and there is one gang. I think it is likely that popular usage will eventually make that part of grammar obsolete though.

CardyMow Mon 05-Sep-11 23:26:19

Or is it just becoming obsolete because children aren't taught these things in school any more?

jasper Mon 05-Sep-11 23:40:12

you are right

Plonker Mon 05-Sep-11 23:47:59

You are right.

However, you are wrong to say "DS1 and I"


Cleverything Tue 06-Sep-11 11:31:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

meditrina Tue 06-Sep-11 11:38:21

I don't know if it's still in print, but "A First Aid in English" (which I think may have been overtaken by "A New First Aid in English") is really good. I'll see if I can find full details.

meditrina Tue 06-Sep-11 11:39:41

Here it is, on Amazon

LeoTheLateBloomer Tue 06-Sep-11 13:02:29

I'd say "me and DS"... grin

CardyMow Tue 06-Sep-11 13:14:06

Sorry - was obviously taught wrongly to say 'XXXX and I', I was taught to put the other person first...grin. I won't claim to have perfect grammar - I come from Essex!

Malcontentinthemiddle Tue 06-Sep-11 13:18:42

It's the 'I' rather than the order which is wrong....

Cleverything Tue 06-Sep-11 14:17:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thesurgeonsmate Tue 06-Sep-11 14:28:38

On the "I/me" issue I find it helps to try putting something other than another person in the sentence. If "It's between the lamp-post and me" sounds better than "It's between the lamp-post and I" then use "me" for between DS and me.

I, too, am with you and the game-maker on the muggers. But we are all three of us assuming that a gang can run. Can it?

nickelbabe Tue 06-Sep-11 14:39:00

yes, in answer to your OP, A gang of muggers is...
the groupness of the noun makes it singular (I have jsut made up a new word)

in response to the next argument...
use DS and I is you are going to use a verb:
DS and I are going to the shop.

If you are talking about something happening to you and DS, then you use Ds and Me (or me and DS, but DS and me is more polite because you're putting the other subject first):
The sun always shines for DS and me when we go out
this always happens to me and DS.

the DS and I regarding the object is also used archaically, it's only in some circumstance though - like you can say "is it I?" but it sounds clumsy in modern english.

CardyMow Tue 06-Sep-11 16:14:44

Groupness = collective singular noun?

But thank you for the correction. <<Expects grammar corrections when posting in Pedants corner...>>

CardyMow Tue 06-Sep-11 16:15:44

Oh - and Ds1 asked his teacher, and his teacher said he could use either is OR are. I now want to shoot his teacher. grin

nickelbabe Tue 06-Sep-11 16:16:00

mine are all typos <my excuse and i'm sticking to it>

groupness - the act of being a group

nickelbabe Tue 06-Sep-11 16:16:31

his teacher's wrong.
actually very wrong.

tell his teacher she's a knob, and to read up on collective nouns before talking again.

drcrab Tue 06-Sep-11 16:19:04

I'm v alarmed that his teacher thought it was ok to use either?!?!! shock

nickelbabe Tue 06-Sep-11 16:20:34

me too drcrab

just goes to prove that teachers don't know everything

nickelbabe Tue 06-Sep-11 16:23:04

to demonstrate to his thicko teacher:

take out the words "vicious muggers"
the sentence now reads "a group is running through the town".

the little tiny word "a" says it's singular.
that means it can't be anything but IS

VictorianIce Tue 06-Sep-11 17:34:07

It's 'is' because there is only one group.
If the WI and the Gardening Society and the locak Brownie pack joined the muggers the you'd say "vicious groups were running through the town". smile

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