The text of the tweet displays "It's time the government shows it." The caption in the video is "It's time the government show it", which appears to be ungrammatical. So I wonder whether "It's time the government to show it" is also correct.

Edit: Some member has offered the information that "government" is always treated as singular in American English while British English treats it as either singular or plural. The information is useful, but it doesn't answer my question. Because my question is whether "to show" works there rather than a question of using singular or plural form of "show".

President-elect Biden will work tirelessly to ensure that families come out of this with the support they need to get their lives back on track.

The American people have shown their grit. It's time the government shows it.

Source: Joe Biden Twitter

  • Does this answer your question? Is "government" singular or plural? – FumbleFingers Dec 4 '20 at 17:42
  • But note that regardless of the "plurality" (more "fixed" in AmE than BrE), Present Tense isn't idiomatic in this context. We normally use Past Tense It's time the government showed it. – FumbleFingers Dec 4 '20 at 17:56
  • I've edited the OP and explained the question in the OP is whether "to show" works there. – NewPlanet Dec 5 '20 at 6:27

It's time the government shows it.

Is grammatically correct and quite acceptable. It could be rephrased as:

It's time for the government to show it.

You correctly understand that

It's time the government show it.

is an error in grammar.

  • Maybe "government" can only be singular in AmE. But in British English, nouns like the government, the police, the company, Microsoft, etc., can all be singular OR plural. – FumbleFingers Dec 4 '20 at 17:46
  • But I must just say that idiomatically I'd always go for past tense after it's [high] time [something happened], so the issue wouldn't arise for me anyway: It's time the government showed it. – FumbleFingers Dec 4 '20 at 17:54
  • @FumbleFingers is it really the case that "the government" (with definate article) can be treated as a plural noun in BrE? I have read a lot of UK texts and don't recall such a usage. In any case, in USEng, "government" is normally singular, and when two or more separate governments are refereed to (such as several state governments, or the state and federal governments) it is made plural with an -s added, just like any regular singular noun. As for the tense, in this sort of construction it is a matter of style, IMO. Either way is correct; the choice depends on the tone of the text. – David Siegel Dec 4 '20 at 21:02
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    @DavidSiegel: I'm surprised. If you switch this chart from BrE to AmE it's obvious Americans really don't like plural government. It's true singular is more common than plural even in BrE, but both are certainly used. Personally, I wouldn't necessarily notice which choice was made in many contexts (because they're both fine to my ear), but I'd have thought you could hardly avoid noticing when Brits make what you consider the "wrong" choice. – FumbleFingers Dec 5 '20 at 15:57
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    @DavidSiegel: Yes, that's the point. So, for example, I'm more likely to go for singular The family is united in [holding some position] (I see them as a single collective unit there). On the other hand, My family argue a lot is a more naturally plural context for me (multiple argumentative individuals). The latter easily extends to My family argue among themselves a lot, but I couldn't possibly contemplate anything like My family argues among itself. – FumbleFingers Dec 5 '20 at 17:16

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