The Nightingale
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Oh my goodness! This has turned into quite a discussion...

Thanks for the replies...

The mistakes were typing errors. Someone mentioned that the sentence didn't make sense. I'm not sure it makes any difference, but it originally said:

Despite this, there is contrasting evidence to suggest that more lone parent families would work if the government were to provide greater child care facilities.
It was response to a question in Sociology. Just before that sentence, I'd been talking about the fact that there’s evidence to suggest that children of lone parents are more likely to participate in crime etc.

Does that make sense now? Or do you think I need to rephrase it?
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dh00001
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were
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dh00001
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damn it too slow :p: 30 seconds :mad:
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The Solitary Reaper
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British English tends to use the plural form - "were" - with a collective noun, whereas American English tends to the singular - "was".
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Da Bachtopus
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http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en...UK%7CcountryGB
http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en...UK%7CcountryGB

^ I actually thought the same (that English in general used plural), but it appears not.

Anyway, this is actually a question about the subjunctive, as the other posters have pointed out.
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Good bloke
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(Original post by The Solitary Reaper)
British English tends to use the plural form - "were" - with a collective noun, whereas American English tends to the singular - "was".
No, just so that nobody is confused by this. This has nothing to do with collective nouns. It is about the mood of a verb, as other posters have said.

In any event, the use of google to establish the correctness of something like this, based on the number of hits, is very dodgy.
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generalebriety
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(Original post by The Solitary Reaper)
British English tends to use the plural form - "were" - with a collective noun, whereas American English tends to the singular - "was".
"Were" isn't a plural. It's a subjunctive.
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sio06
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I know I dont belong to this forum, is there anyone that is willing to go through my application forms (jobs etc) and check to see if there any grammatical mistakes etc.. I am willing to pay if anyone has Paypal, so please reply if youre interested as soon as possible!
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The Solitary Reaper
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Ooh my mistake then - and my English teacher's! You learn something new every day; my apologies.
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Kagutsuchi
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were.
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francescarella
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were

english students unite! yay!
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Da Bachtopus
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(Original post by Good bloke)
In any event, the use of google to establish the correctness of something like this, based on the number of hits, is very dodgy.
I'm not claiming it's establishing anything, and wouldn't cite it over a grammar. Though I don't see why you think Google can't provide useful illustrations of standard usages. Surely it shows that a significantly larger number of pages based in the UK (yes, presumably written by British people) treat "the government" as singular rather than plural? You can repeat the same test, with the same result, using "was/were".
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Hylean
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(Original post by Good bloke)
No, just so that nobody is confused by this. This has nothing to do with collective nouns. It is about the mood of a verb, as other posters have said.

In any event, the use of google to establish the correctness of something like this, based on the number of hits, is very dodgy.
you'd be surprised. i've seen various grammarians, all university professors, use google to decide which is a correct form of a word, and this was for a grammar heavy language: Icelandic.

grammarians often decide which is the correct version by what is most common. that said, they have to be descriptivists and not perscriptivists.

perscriptivists will say the older rules are more correct. in which case i say we go back to speaking Saxon. anyone who wants to keep the old rules of our grammar is clearly missing the point that our language got to where it is due to evolution, mistakes and *******isation of words. english use to be a case language. [/rant] sorry bout that, totally off topic i know.
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generalebriety
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(Original post by Hylean)
you'd be surprised. i've seen various grammarians, all university professors, use google to decide which is a correct form of a word, and this was for a grammar heavy language: Icelandic.

grammarians often decide which is the correct version by what is most common. that said, they have to be descriptivists and not perscriptivists.
There's something to be said for prescriptivism when it's clear to current English speakers that the majority of current English speakers can't speak good English, though.
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Hylean
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(Original post by generalebriety)
There's something to be said for prescriptivism when it's clear to current English speakers that the majority of current English speakers can't speak good English, though.
True, but is it "can't" or "won't"? If I wanted to I could speak the Queen's English and my grammar would be nigh on perfect. Do I want to? Hell no. That would mean that I would be speaking ridiculously formally and it would sound strange to everyone around. I know I don't speak grammatically correct English, quite happy bout it too.

I think those who are championing sticking to the old rules should ask themselves this question: "what is language for?"

That all said, I am not asking for a language revolution here.

"Down with verb conjugation!" *ahem* >_> <_<
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username62978
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It's were. I'm more interested in the first bit though:

"There is contrasting evidence to suggest that more lone parents families would work"

That doesn't make sense to me (where are the nouns? adjectives? plurals?)
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Laevis
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There is contrasting evidence to suggest that more lone parents families would work, and ultimately better their circumstances, if the government were to provide greater child care facilties
I'm more asking rather than telling, but is the space between 'child' and 'care' really required?

Also, just in case you copied that segment directly from your work, facilities is spelt incorrectly :shy2:
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Good bloke
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Hehe. I bet the OP didn't expect this. Perhaps the quotation was all about universities and it is a typo for "faculties". And, of course, it should be "lone parent" rather than "lone parents".
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username62978
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And if you're being pedantic there should be a hyphen between lone and parent, e.g. lone-parent
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Good bloke
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I would certainly use one, but wouldn't die in a ditch over it.
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