Author Topic: West Midlands Police  (Read 385 times)

Offline Malcolm

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West Midlands Police
« on: January 12, 2019, 07:56:39 am »
Dear teachers,

I should appreciate it if someone could tell me why there is no definite article before the plural noun phrase "West Midlands Police", and why the verbs following it are not in the plural:

"West Midlands Police is leading the project and has until the end of March 2019 to produce a prototype."

Thank you very much 


Offline Darryl

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Re: West Midlands Police
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2019, 08:16:37 am »
While there are individual members, West Midlands Police is seen as one unit. Perhaps the understood 'Department' would make it clear.
West Midlands Police (Department) is leading the project ...

Offline admin

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Re: West Midlands Police
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2019, 10:03:35 am »
And no article is required as the adjectives define the noun.
Certain nouns describing groups of people can be seen as either plural or singular depending on whether you are looking at the individuals or the entity as a whole: parliament has decided / parliament have decided.

Actually - currently our parliament couldn't decided if black was black or white was white - but that's another story :(
Best wishes,

Duncan Baker
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Offline Darryl

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Re: West Midlands Police
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2019, 12:45:31 pm »
Actually - currently our parliament couldn't decided if black was black or white was white - but that's another story :(

Yep. Deal or No Deal.  ;)

Offline Bertha

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Re: West Midlands Police
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2019, 11:42:34 am »
And the US has the wall--no wall.  What a mess!
Bertha

Offline Malcolm

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Re: West Midlands Police
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2019, 11:43:24 am »
Thank you, everyone, for your answers and explanation.

About 20 years ago, if I am not wrong, I wrote to Oxford dictionary to find out the historical reasons for treating "police" as a plural noun, particularly when it can be like any other collective nouns like "team", "group", "government" and "family", which in British English can accept either singular or plural verbs (depending on the emphasis and meaning). A sub-editor (whose name I can't recall now), replied to me, saying that "police" had, at one time, been like the aforesaid collective nouns, and he cited example sentences to show that it was grammatically acceptable in the 19th (or 18th?) century to use singular verbs with that noun. To wit, "police are" was considered unidiomatic and ungrammatical then. (If you give me some time, I should be able to find the letter that he sent me).

I have just read an article on Oxford Dictionary website that says that there is now a growing trend that suggests that soon "police" will be treated like any other collective nouns that go with either singular or plural verbs.

https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2011/09/05/agreement-over-collective-nouns/?utm_source=newsletter-jan-17&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=odo-newsletter&utm_content=blog-grammar-collective-nouns-toppanel
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 12:06:54 pm by Malcolm »

Offline admin

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Re: West Midlands Police
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2019, 10:31:51 am »
 :)
Best wishes,

Duncan Baker
http://www.lydbury.co.uk