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ESL forum > Ask for help > The police are out of control........     

The police are out of control........



Samantha.esl
Italy

The police are out of control........
 
Hi teachers,

I badly need your help!

I was totally confused when I read a sentence that said: The police ARE out of control.
I thougth that being īpolice ī uncountable it had to be followed by a singular verb. Then read in some grammar discussion on the net that collective nouns are treated differently in BrE and AmE. 
In American English, collective nouns are always singular, and in British English collective nouns can be either plural or singular. The collective noun "police" is always plural. As well, we can īt count police, so this makes it an uncountable noun. In order to count police, we have to say "policeman" or "policewoman", which follows with the plural forms "policemen" or "policewomen".

Then I read in another discussion that īpolice ī should be followed by singular verbs. .... so what do you think??
Does this mean that some nouns have singular forms but  can have plural sense. (For example police, people, military, cattle, fruit, fish?..
In Cambridge dictionary Police is listed as plural....
So I don īt know! I guess it īs plural!

Could any of you help me clarify this? Is is plural or singular?

Thank you!

18 Jan 2010      



donapeter
Romania

It is plural, as strange as it may sound. We often tend to associate the meaning and the grammatical structure with our native language. It is so difficult for my students, and not only, to use money with is, as we have it as plural noun. 

Plural, plural plural.

Regards,
D

18 Jan 2010     



mary-butterfly
Brazil

I LEARNED IT AS AN UNCOUNTABLE WORD ..

THE POLICE IS HERE.
REGARDS...


18 Jan 2010     



slwhite
Canada

As a native English speaker in Canada, I would say "the police" is plural, while referring to a single police officer is singular. I think it would be used similar to "people" which is used in the plural form.
Regards,
Shari

18 Jan 2010     



eng789
Israel

Also a native English speaker from Canada,  I agree with Shari.  "the police" is plural.

18 Jan 2010     



Samantha.esl
Italy

Thank you!!

I wanted to hear your opinions! It īs plural!
I was confused because some people say itīs singular but you canīt say "a police".. but a policeman/woman/officer,..

18 Jan 2010     



kole
Croatia

Thumbs Up

18 Jan 2010     



renca
Czech Republic

I suppose that the police belongs among collective nouns, so if you speak generally you should say "the police are". when you talk about a single person, you should say "a policeman is". You can find more of the collective nouns - cattle for example is taken as plural too.

18 Jan 2010     



Siemes_
Brazil

The correct form is

"THE POLICE ARE HERE"


"THE POLICE" IS PLURAL (ALL THE GANG ARE HERE - MEN AND WOMEN AND THEY WILL ARREST THE CRIMINALS) AND YOU CAN WATCH CSI MIAMI OR OTHER SERIES AND SEE THAT THEY ALWAYS USE "THE POLICE ARE HERE" AND NOT "THE POLICE IS HERE"

HOPE IT HELPS


18 Jan 2010     



SueThom
United States

As a native speaker, I also say and can only remember hearing "police are".

On another note, in my part of the US (Pacific NW) it īs generally considered bad form to use "policeman" or "police woman".  Gender neutral language--in this case "police officer"--is preferred.  Is that just here or is that the case in other parts of the world?

Sue

18 Jan 2010     



lshorton99
China

I agree about using īthe police ī as a collective for the group - plural. īThe police force ī is singular.

Sue - I believe in the UK we are technically supposed to say īpolice officer ī but in reality we tend not to. The same with most other jobs - while there is usually a gender-neutral alternative, it is rarely used in spoken English.

Lindsey

19 Jan 2010     

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