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I was reading the news on Yahoo and found a mistake (as per my opinion). I need your valuable feedback to make sure if it was a mistake or I am wrong! It is a paragraph on Yahoo. Please check and let me know.

On Yahoo:

There has been a shift of power, control and decision making from the parents and elders of the family to the individuals themselves. That is not saying that parents and the family is not involved in the decision, but there is much more emphasis placed on what the individuals want, what they are looking for and who they will be compatible with.

As per my opinion:

There has been a shift of power, control and decision making from the parents and elders of the family to the individuals themselves. That is not saying that parents and the family are not involved in the decision, but there is much more emphasis placed on what the individuals want, what they are looking for and who they will be compatible with.

Thanks in advance.

  • Yes, it is a mistake. No, self-respecting news-sources should not make those mistakes. But every news source does make them. Even high-quality newspapers with excellent proofreaders cannot always avoid all typing and grammar mistakes. – oerkelens Mar 4 '14 at 11:52
  • @oerkelens Thanks, I appreciate your answer and I was also thinking same, but I am a learner of English so I need to check those mistakes here to make sure I understand them properly and do not accept them in a wrong way. – user62015 Mar 4 '14 at 11:55
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    If there were not that "parents and", the sentence would be more debatable. I think the word "family" is tricky. The word "family" could be singular or plural depending on which dialect (of English) you use, and what you refer to by the word "family". – Damkerng T. Mar 4 '14 at 13:23
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Damkerng T is right that "family" can be treated as singular or plural:

Collective nouns, or collectives (family, team, couple, etc.), tend to be plural when the component members are considered separately and singular when the group is handled as a unit

So:

1) "My family is great."

or

2) "My family are great."

These mean the same thing - it's just that, in 2), the speaker is emphasising the individual members of their family, rather than the family as a group. It really means "My family (members) are..."

Of course, your example sentence does not say "...that the family is ..."

Instead, it is giving two subjects: parents and family, which suggests that "are" is better here. Possibly the writer is thinking of parents as part of "the family", so groups both items together with the singular "is".

The fact remains, there are two subjects given, even if one is part of the other, so the plural "are" should follow (grammatically speaking).

To emphasise that one is part of the other, "the family (especially/including parents) is..." would be better.

  • One thing to add is that the British more often treat the collective as plural whereas Americans more often treat it as singular. The team are heading to the championship will be far more common east of the pond than the west, for example, although both forms can be correct in both strains of the language. – choster Mar 5 '14 at 0:06

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