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Today I asked a question about collective nouns actually being plural in different grammatical contexts, or just associated with a plural verb. Initially I phrased the question poorly and it got closed as "too basic", but then I significantly changed and rephrased the question hoping for re-opening. But now I don't see the question at all — it's as if it's never been there. What happened to my question? Can I still access the text?

Coincidentally, the heading of the first version of the question can be seen in the screenshot in this question. At least I'm not going crazy ;-)

  • Ayup. Link (10k). – RegDwigнt Sep 20 '12 at 20:32
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    @ЯegDwight: People voted to delete it pretty quickly. I thought it took a couple days before others could delete, giving the OP a chance to fix. I guess not. What's up with that? – Mitch Sep 20 '12 at 20:45
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    @Mitch 20k don’t have to wait. – tchrist Sep 20 '12 at 20:46
  • @gerrit You completely edited your question to something new. – tchrist Sep 20 '12 at 20:47
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    Should I add it as a new question? Would be nice to get a chance to access the original text (would also be nice to get a notification that my question got deleted...). – gerrit Sep 20 '12 at 20:48
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Yes, some people deleted your question. For what it's worth, there are several other questions about this issue, and I think your question will probably be considered a duplicate of one of those—depending on your final version, of course. Have your searched the site for similar questions? Here is your text. You can access the formatting by clicking "edit" (I hope you can), then you can copy the text including formatting.


According to Wikipedia, In British English, it is generally accepted that collective nouns can take either singular or plural verb forms. How does this affect their property of being singular or plural in other contexts? We use plural verb forms, but do we then also use plural personal pronouns?

For example:

  • England rule! — this one is, to my understanding, correct (but possibly archaic)

Now is/are England actually plural, or is/are England just used with the plural verb form without being plural in other grammatical contexts?

  • I am sailing to England themselves, or
  • I am sailing to England itself?

Which one is correct?

(an earlier version of this question was closed for being general reference; I hope I have now pointed out that I don't find it such)

  • Yes, I did search the site for similar questions, but without having the expertise to know the grammatical terminology, it can be quite hard to search. So a link to a duplicate is in that case also quite helpful. Thanks for posting the contents to my deleted question, I hope the Stackexchange people will eventually implement that one at least gets a notice when a question gets deleted... – gerrit Sep 20 '12 at 22:02
  • @gerrit: I think they do that on purpose against spammers, who may in that case are reminded to repost spam links or something. It can be annoying, though, with legitimate questions like this. – Cerberus Sep 20 '12 at 22:03
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    @gerrit start here: Are collective nouns always plural, or are certain ones singular?. Then have a look at the (lots and lots) of related questions linked on the right-hand side of the page. In brief: 1. as you say yourself, collective nouns can and do get plural treatment in BrE but only get singular treatment in AmE. 2. "I am sailing to England" has got nothing to do with the price of milk, because England is quite obviously not a collective noun there. – RegDwigнt Sep 21 '12 at 9:25
  • @gerrit: I think I voted to close as General Reference (too basic) purely on the strength of "I am sailing to England themselves". If you'd just asked about the acceptability of "England rule!", which I think is an interesting question, I certainly wouldn't have voted to close. In fact, I'd probably have tried to come up with an answer myself. – FumbleFingers Sep 21 '12 at 14:27

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