• Collective Nouns... 2.

    From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to alexander koryagin on Fri Mar 2 18:00:57 2018
    Hi again, Alexander! This is a continuation of my previous message to you:

    But [mass nouns] are sometimes used with "a" when the
    noun is modificated with another word.
    |In English we generally say "modified by".
    I know a native speaker of English who made
    a similar error after living in France for
    two years & marrying a Frenchman. What she
    did was Anglicize her pronunciation of the
    French ending of the word "amplifier". But
    I knew what she meant, as I did there. :-)

    My example: A cosy warmth filled the room.

    Some kinds of warmth may be comforting & others less so. I see this as analogous to what you told us earlier about various kinds of honey.... :-)

    FOWLER'S estimates that there are 200+ collective nouns
    in English... not counting names for groups of animals,
    such as "a gaggle of geese".

    You mean that "A gaggle of geese cackle outdoors." Yes?
    (not cackles)

    How about "A gaggle of geese was crossing the road, just in front of my car?" That's how city folks would talk & it's probably the answer you'd be expected to offer on a grade twelve English exam... especially if the sentence appeared in isolation. Now suppose the geese belonged to your grandfather the beekeeper. I reckon you might take a personal interest in them & notice there were other geese belonging to him beside the farm pond or whatever. IOW you'd feel about them as Wordsworth did about the daffodils. I doubt he knew all of their names, or counted them one by one, but I think he cared about them.

    A further explanation as to why we do what we do came to mind when I read a discussion elsewhere about whether "ZCC" should be masculine, feminine, or neuter. The consensus among the participants was that much depends on what language a person is using. In English the ZCC is an "it" although it is made up of male & female human beings. (BTW... good work, xxcarol! I realize your life circumstances have changed & you haven't written much lately where I hang out most often, but if you're lurking in E_T I'd enjoy hearing from you.) The ZCC, like the FTSC, is a committee working within Fidonet. We usually reserve the masculine & feminine pronouns for human beings or cherished family pets... with a few exceptions, such as ships & countries. Any sort of private club is treated grammatically as neuter along with committees & subcommittees of same. OTOH, if you really care about certain human beings and/or certain family pets and/or the livestock from your grandfather's farm and/or the holly trees which your neighbours planted years ago between their residence & yours you'll begin to see what distinguishes one from another, and there's where knowing you have a choice with collective nouns may be helpful. Grammatically the pronouns you use, if you want to add more details, must agree with your decision re whether to treat the group as singular or plural. If the verb indicates you regard it as plural you can use "they"... which applies equally well to any gender. :-)

    A bunch of the boys were whooping it up
    In the Malamute Saloon....
    Robert W. Service, ca. 1905

    That's it. ;)

    Glad you like it! Penned by an ex-Brit Canadian, I might add. :-))

    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)