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I know that the number (singular/plural) of verb and pronoun should be the same in a sentence. But I've encountered with the following sentence:
"My family is gathering in Kolkata, and I'm preparing a feast for them."
Here, the collective noun is used with a singular verb ('is') & a plural pronoun ('them'). I think the pronoun 'them' should be changed to 'It'.
Could you please clarify it with precise grammatical rule?
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Sandip KumarHere, the collective noun is used with a singular verb ('is') & a plural pronoun ('them'). I think the pronoun 'them' should be changed to 'It'.

"it" does not sound right here (sounds too impersonal/inhuman). The mismatch between "is" and "them" might go unnoticed by many people. In BrE, in everyday English, we often use "logical agreement" of verbs, which means using a plural verb for a noun that is grammatically singular but refers to a plural entity, such as a family. In this case the mismatch can be fixed by changing "is" to "are".

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Very small point.

I believe "family is" is usually called "logical agreement", and "family are" is usually called "notional agreement".

CJ

CalifJimI believe "family is" is usually called "logical agreement", and "family are" is usually called "notional agreement".

Oh ... Perhaps I have been using this term incorrectly then, though at e.g. https://www.smg.surrey.ac.uk/media/1396/minimalism-approach-to-semantic-agreement.pdf they imply that logical and notional agreement are the same:

In the most straightforward cases syntactic agreement (sometimes called ‘agreement ad formam’, ‘formal agreement’ or ‘grammatical agreement’) is agreement consistent with the form of the controller (the committee has decided). Semantic agreement (or ‘agreement ad sensum’, ‘notional agreement’, ‘logical agreement’ or ‘synesis’) is agreement consistent with its meaning (the committee have decided).

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Very interesting. They put 'logical' and 'notional' in the same category.

But in any case, I like the dichotomy they set up there even better: syntactic agreement vs semantic agreement.

CJ

CalifJimI like the dichotomy they set up there even better: syntactic agreement vs semantic agreement.

I agree. That terminology seems clearer.

GPY

the most straightforward cases syntactic agreement (sometimes called ‘agreement ad formam’, ‘formal agreement’ or ‘grammatical agreement’) is agreement consistent with the form of the controller (the committee has decided). Semantic agreement (or ‘agreement ad sensum’, ‘notional agreement’, ‘logical agreement’ or ‘synesis’) is agreement consistent with its meaning (the committee have decided).

Glad to learn this. According to Jespersen, if collective noun expresses 'idea of unity' singular collective is used.

e.g., The Jury is unanimous in its opinion.

Is it syntactic agreement?

Can I say "The Jury is unanimous in their opinion."?

If collective noun expresses 'idea of plurality', plural collective is used.

e.g., The Jury are divided in their opinion.

Is it semantic agreement?


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Sandip Kumare.g., The Jury is unanimous in its opinion.
Is it syntactic agreement?

According to the terminology in that article that I quoted, yes.

Sandip KumarCan I say "The Jury is unanimous in their opinion."?

For me, the mismatch here is more noticeable than it was in the "family" example. Partly this may be because the words "is" and "their" are closer together, and partly because "jury" is less of a personal thing than "my family", so there seems no reason not to use "its" with "is".

Sandip Kumare.g., The Jury are divided in their opinion.
Is it semantic agreement?

According to the terminology in that article, yes.

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