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Difference between British and US English, or simply wrong?

Which sound correct to you and which not? Why?

These are all examples relating to singular or plural agreement.

The government has announced its decision.

The government have announced their decision.

The company is treating its staff badly at the moment.

The company are treating their staff badly at the moment.

The news is fairly bad at the moment. I hope it improves!

The news are fairly bad at the moment. I hope they improve!

Our family isn’t close anymore.

Our family aren’t close anymore.

The staff is rebelling.

The staff are rebelling.

The police is coming.

The police are coming.

Answer key

Singular verbs with collective nouns is US style, and acceptable in UK style.

The government has announced its decision. (US and UK)

The company is treating its staff badly at the moment. (US and UK)

Our family isn’t close anymore. (US and UK)

The staff is rebelling. (US and UK)

Plural verbs with collective nouns is UK style only and sounds wrong to US speakers.

The UK speakers prefer it as it sounds like the nouns contain humans, while US speakers tend to view the noun as a unit or collective singular noun.

The government have announced their decision. (UK)

The company are treating their staff badly at the moment. (UK)

Our family aren’t close anymore. (UK)

The staff are rebelling. (UK)

Two grammar errors:

In both US and UK English, news is always singular and police is always plural, unlike in many other languages.

The news is fairly bad at the moment. I hope it improves! (correct US and UK)

The news are fairly bad at the moment. I hope they improve! (grammar error, as news is singular)

The police is coming. (grammar error, as police is plural. A police officer is singular).

The police are coming. (correct US and UK)

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Presentation/editing by Christina O’Shaughnessy (editor)
worldwidewriting.org/

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