+0
Hi everyone,
Could you help me with this sentence? Is it correct?

"What is the police doing? Can't they enforce the traffic rules?"

Thank you
1 2 3 4
Comments  
MagdaHi everyone,
Could you help me with this sentence? Is it correct?

"What is the police doing? Can't they enforce the traffic rules?"

Thank you
What are the police doing? Can't they enforce the traffic rules?"

The verb used with 'police' is a plural one.
But "police" is also a collective noun. Can't we treat the police in the first sentence as an institution?
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Although 'police' is a collective noun, a plural verb is required. For some collective nouns, there is a choice between a singular and a plural verb. For example, 'crowd' and 'family' can be used with either a singular or a plural verb.
See this thread , where I got raked over the coals for saying "police" takes the plural.
Be consistent. Use plural in both.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Grammar GeekSee this thread , where I got raked over the coals for saying "police" takes the plural.
police (noun) [often the police (plural)] - Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

police (noun) [plural] - Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

The police are looking for a second car. (Extracted from Collins Cobuild Dictionary for Advanced Learners

Police say they have arrested twenty people. (as above)
As Marius says, be consistent. You can't begin by talking about the police in the singular and then continue with "they". We consider "police" as plural because we are thinking of a certain number of police officers and not the entire institution. It's rare to see "police" in the singular unless we are saying something like "the police was founded in 1850", but even there we are more likely to say "police force".

There is more flexibility with other collective nouns. We say "the government [i.e. various ministers exchanging opinions] are considering the problem", but "the government has fallen"; it stands or falls as one. In the first case the plural verb is optional but the important thing is to be consistent in the sentences that follow.
J LewisAs Marius says, be consistent. You can't begin by talking about the police in the singular and then continue with "they". We consider "police" as plural because we are thinking of a certain number of police officers and not the entire institution. It's rare to see "police" in the singular unless we are saying something like "the police was founded in 1850", but even there we are more likely to say "police force".

There is more flexibility with other collective nouns. We say "the government [i.e. various ministers exchanging opinions] are considering the problem", but "the government has fallen"; it stands or falls as one. In the first case the plural verb is optional but the important thing is to be consistent in the sentences that follow.
I beg to differ. Here we are taking about 'police', which requires a plural verb. Please refer to my earlier posting with quotes from dictionaries.

For example, in the case of 'government', either a singular or a plural verb can be used. But 'police' is a plural noun.

The sentence What is the police doing? Can't they enforce the traffic rules?" cannot be rephrased as What is the police doing? Can't it enforce the traffic rules?

Consistency in this case means we use 'are' (plural verb) together with 'they' (plural pronoun).
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more