Word Hate: the ‘China are’ Syndrome

I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but the third person singular is starting to disappear from our language. The use of the plural verb for a team or organisation has crept so far into verbal and written language that it is now too late to stop it. It has always been an legitimate option (‘our team say they can meet the deadline’), but the rot has now truly set in. It started in sport, with ‘England are hoping to win the World Cup’, or ‘Australia are following on after a disastrous first innings’. It has now reached political journalism. Recently I’ve heard the following, referring to the Chinese nation or government, both on the BBC Radio 4 news: ‘China are going to make changes’; ‘China are going to be the first back in space’. IS – IS -IS! Grrr!

Advertisements
Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 10:14  Comments (5)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://ladyeffingham.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/word-hate-the-china-are-syndrome/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This has been a problem for ages when talking about companies. A company is a separate corporate entity and is therefore an “it” but because a company is really all about its people, it is always referred to as “they”. However I believe this is a result of people’s gut instinct about corporate liability (or lack of it). Most people hate the idea of a company as a separate, faceless being that allows directors to get away with fraud, injury and murder. Maybe we fell the same way about a country, which is after all only a political boundary?

  2. Catherine have a point here!

  3. Oh Leonie. You is a card.

  4. Lady Eff, you were listening to the same broadcast as what I are done. Same button pressed. Same shriek of irritation. Possibly same comment from spouse: “Don’t shout at the radio darling, they can’t hear you….”.

  5. I’m coming to this late, but if I had a pound for every correction I have to make of this in student essays, reports, dissertations etc well I wouldn’t be working in Higher Education. Perhaps I should run a course in Singular.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: