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"rest of the audience" - singular or plural?

(28 Posts)
Ponders Thu 14-Feb-13 12:36:03

This is the phrase I have to use

the rest of the audience learns and sings the choruses of four songs

I feel it should be "the rest of the audience learn and sing"


orangeandlemons Thu 14-Feb-13 12:39:28

Learn and sing.....I think

SageBush Thu 14-Feb-13 12:42:08

Singular, I reckon, as 'the rest' is a singular noun (eg. '...and the rest is history').

AgentProvocateur Thu 14-Feb-13 12:44:01

The rest of the audience sings. Rest is singular.

Jacksterbear Thu 14-Feb-13 12:44:36

I think it should be singular - audience = singular, collective noun I think.

MirandaWest Thu 14-Feb-13 12:45:37

I think it's singular as well - one audience although made up of lots of people.

Jacksterbear Thu 14-Feb-13 12:47:00

It's about "audience" being singular, not" rest", i think. "The rest of the children" would be followed by a plural because children is plural.

Ponders Thu 14-Feb-13 12:53:49

thanks, all

(we do love a good grammar thread, don't we? grin)

I know rest & audience are both singular, it just didn't sound quite right...

what would the pronoun be for "rest of the audience"? Would it be "it"?

LunaticFringe Thu 14-Feb-13 12:53:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WMittens Thu 14-Feb-13 14:00:13

Aye, audience is singular, so the bold phrase is correct.

cumfy Thu 14-Feb-13 19:31:42

I would vote for:

The rest/others learn and sing....

since in the prior text you will have referred to the audience and thus the context will be apparent (conveniently circumventing the need to ponder the grammar of collective nouns)

Jacksterbear Thu 14-Feb-13 19:48:55

But,, cumfy, "rest" should still take the singular since it refers back to the audience; "others" should take the plural: so the "/" which indicates they are interchangeable and should take the same verb form wouldn't work, IMO.

Jacksterbear Thu 14-Feb-13 19:54:35

Unless, arguably, you could imply "the rest" to refer to "the rest of the people in the audience" or "the rest of them" which would be plural.

LunaticFringe Thu 14-Feb-13 19:56:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WMittens Thu 14-Feb-13 21:39:49


Which bit doesn't work? You said yourself that 'audience' is singular, and also to substitute other words so let's give that a go:

"She learns and sings..."
"They learn and sing..."

"She learn and sing..."
"They learns and sings..."

LunaticFringe Thu 14-Feb-13 21:45:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mercibucket Thu 14-Feb-13 21:48:43

the rest of it or the rest of them

mercibucket Thu 14-Feb-13 21:51:52

WMittens Thu 14-Feb-13 22:16:49

The rest is one thing. That's the quantifier.

I would argue "the rest..." is almost always going to be plural; "the other..." would be singular.

"Three men walk into a bar; two fall down a hole in the floor, the rest walks around it."

Sorry, I can't see it.

LunaticFringe Thu 14-Feb-13 22:31:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WMittens Thu 14-Feb-13 22:32:18

Actually hang that, I can see it now, however, can you state which sentence should be used?

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 14-Feb-13 22:38:09

The rest of the audience is...
The rest of the audience are...

The former seems correct. Go for singular.

mercibucket Fri 15-Feb-13 06:44:28

sorry i couln't convert the oink
audience can be both singular and plural
i think plurality is more likely as 'the rest of them dance' sounds better ie the rest of the people in the audience

mercibucket Fri 15-Feb-13 06:44:41


Olivess Fri 15-Feb-13 07:11:26

Ooh I did my dissertation on this at university (part of my degree was about English grammar).

The 'rest of the audience is a collective noun' (in fact 'the rest of' is not really relevant). Whether you use the singular or plural depends on where you are.

In US English - the singular tends to be used with collective nouns. For example in this newspaper article about Chelsea football team they use the singular verb 'Chelsea wins'.

However in British English we tend to use the plural verb for collective nouns. In this article on the bbc website about Chelsea they say: 'A lacklustre Chelsea, top scorers in the group stages of the Champions League, were sloppy in possession...'.

This is all to do with how we view collective nouns. In the USA clearly the team is considered as one. Whereas in UK we seem to view a team as a group of individuals. The plural being more important.

So strictly for 'the rest of the audience' we should be using the plural verb form - 'the rest of the audience learn and sing.' So OP your original gut feeling was right. Unless you are in the US.

Sorry my geekiness finishes there, hope that helps. That took me back 11 years smile.

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