n British English, it is generally accepted that collective nouns can take either singular or plural verb forms depending on the context and the metonymic shift that it implies. For example, "the team is in the dressing room" (formal agreement) refers to the team as an ensemble, whilst "the team are fighting among themselves" (notional agreement) refers to the team as individuals.
I'd probably treat it as a plural, even though it's ungrammatical to do so.
The couple came in after a long walk. They were very thirsty. (nb. not "It was very thirsty.")
But you didn't treat it as a plural, Sir McTag; 'came' gives no indication of it being treated as a singular or as a plural.
Yeah, but you're changing the context and the wording of the original text,
McTag. Don't confuse our Chinese friends here...you rebel!
I only seek to set the record straight, the important part being that what the people of a particular dialect say can't be ungrammatical. That is nonsensical.
It is? In Lady Chatterley's Lover, for example, the author contrasts the speech of the gardener with that of Her Ladyship.
Quite deliberate of course- one in Standard English, the other in heavy local dialect.
Are they both "correct"? I admit that both are valid. But surely we must adhere to a standard, when English is being taught.
I begin by taking it for granted that there are conditions we might call correctness conditions for natural languages. (Whether they are standard languages, non-standard dialects, or undescribed tribal languages
of preliterate peoples does not matter: all have correctness conditions.) And I will also assume that it is possible in principle to be perfectly explicit about such conditions. In terms of the distinction drawn familiar thirty-ﬁve years ago by John Searle,1
They are constitutive, not regulative. They do not regulate the use of the language, in the sense that one could use it either in ways that comply or in ways that don’t; they constitute the language, in the sense that not respecting them amounts to not using it at all but doing something else instead