Grammar: My Family is or My Family are?

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Grammar: My Family is or My Family are?

Postby Hamletintaiwan » 15 May 2012, 22:53

I know it's ok to use either one and the book we use teaches 'my family are".
Still, I always use my family is and feel a little irritated teaching the plural version.

Anyhow, since this is Taiwan, what's the American way?
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Re: Grammar: My Family is or My Family are?

Postby Dragonbones » 15 May 2012, 23:40

It depends on whether you are speaking collectively of the group as a singular entity (I have A large family; my family is large), or whether you are referring to the individuals which comprise it (my family (members) are all here; my family (members) are all big and tall; my family are all rather large).
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Re: Grammar: My Family is or My Family are?

Postby superking » 15 May 2012, 23:45

Agree with DB.

My family is in debt.
My family are in debt.

You can see a group as a bunch of individuals or as a collective whole made up of individuals.

You see a group noun with a plural then use IS. My family is dumb.
You see a group noun with a singular then use ARE. My family are dumb.


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Re: Grammar: My Family is or My Family are?

Postby Maceck » 16 May 2012, 00:49

My relatives are....
my brother and sister are...
my parents are ......
my friends are......
my classmates are.......



my family is....
my fraternity is....
my club is.....


Family is a singular "it" because its realm is logistically uncountable.

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Re: Grammar: My Family is or My Family are?

Postby Ducked » 16 May 2012, 07:31

Your dichotomies are false.
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Re: Grammar: My Family is or My Family are?

Postby Chris » 16 May 2012, 07:34

When it comes to collective nouns like "team" or "family", Brits tend to use the plural, while Americans tend to use the singular.
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Re: Grammar: My Family is or My Family are?

Postby helsic » 09 Nov 2012, 04:56

I was concerned about this too haha.
I'm relieve to be able to use both. Sometimes different ways of grammar between American and British English confuses me a lot!
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Re: Grammar: My Family is or My Family are?

Postby ehophi » 27 Nov 2012, 22:44

Singular. A family is a group or a set.
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Re: Grammar: My Family is or My Family are?

Postby ironlady » 27 Nov 2012, 23:07

Oh, come on.
Actually it depends on whether the family in question is British or American.
If they're British you go through all the machinations above.
If the family is American, it's always singular. Same with nouns like "company" or "team". I have heard "team" used with plural verbs in the US recently, but I think there was a very strong association of the "team" being the plural members on it, not the entity, in that case.
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Re: Grammar: My Family is or My Family are?

Postby louisfriend » 27 Nov 2012, 23:21

I wish the Brits would keep from fucking around with the English language. Thank you very much
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