NY Times Blooper?

Posted by TheFallen on March 04, 2002

In Reply to: NY Times Blooper? posted by psi on March 04, 2002

: : : "Another Round of Layoffs Are Planned at
: : : First Boston"

: : : "Round" is singular, no?
: : : So it should read:
: : : "Another Round of Layoffs IS Planned at
: : : First Boston."

: : : The original is below.

: :
: : I would agree, but there does seem to be a collective form where a singular noun takes a plural verb, as in "a lot of people are present". I don't believe it is right to say "... is present" in this case, but I am clear on what the difference is.

: ----- er... not clear, I meant! psi

: : Does anyone have any ideas?

: : psi

Hmmm. I am not sure if this is a hard and fast grammatical rule, but it does seem to be true that when a singular but non-specific collective noun is the subject of the sentence, then a plural verb form simply sounds better. Examples...

A lot of people have arrived...
A number of sources have stated...
A couple of people have stayed...
A half of those surveyed have said...
None of the children have left... (I am uneasy with this one, and feel it *must* strictly speaking be "has", though colloquially, it's a different gether altomatter)