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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > What s the correct verb form?    

What s the correct verb form?


What s the correct verb form?
Hi everyone!
Please, help me with this sentence because I d like to be sure about the correct answer.
At the moment Sarah s family is sitting / are sitting in the living room.
Can we use both verb forms (I know that family can be used before a singular or plural verb)?
Thanks in advance?

11 Mar 2013      

United States

Yes, both are correct. It depends on how you are considering them. If they are a group to you, then it s "is". If you think of them as individuals, then "are" is the choice. I would usually use "is".

11 Mar 2013     


Thanks a lot, dear Bruce!
That s what I usually do. I was just making sure I was right.

11 Mar 2013     


In my mind, family is a collective noun; such as herd, swarm or class.  So i would use Is .

11 Mar 2013     

United States

You and Bruce are correct.  Both uses are grammatically correct depending on context, which with are can be ambiguous .   In additon, I have never had a conversation with any native speaker where they used are,  and seldom, if ever seen are used in writing with family.  I am teaching my esl writing and speaking classes to use  "family members"  [with are]  so their other teachers cannot say they are wrong, which has also happened.

11 Mar 2013