The close-knit Stones family is doing ... (right now).

The close-knit family of the Stones is doing ... (right now).

How to say idiomatically about the particular close-knit family with its surname if there is Mr. Stone who is a Dad in their family?

  • 2
    The close-knit Stone family is/are doing something, but we say the Stones are a close-knit family. Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 10:11
  • @Astralbee, not exactly
    – Sergei
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 10:19

1 Answer 1


If you are labelling a family with a surname, you don't pluralise the surname. The word 'family' is a collective noun and therefore singular. It would be the Stone family (or, less commonly, the family Stone, even though there is a well-known sixties group that just happens to be called 'Sly and the Family Stone').

However, if you omit the word 'family' then you would refer to the entire family as the Stones.

'Close-knit' is a compound adjective and so sits comfortably before either.

  • The close-knit Stone family
  • The close-knit family Stone
  • Maybe it was all the marijuana (it was the 1960s) but I (a Brit) kind of assumed that the 'family stone' was a part of a deliberately 'weird' band name, and that it referred to a family pet like the later 'pet rocks'. Bands used to use title case, so 'Stone' didn't tip me off. Of course, once I knew the band members' names I was disabused. Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 10:34
  • @MichaelHarvey It had to be that example because the OP asked about 'Stone', but you also had the Swiss family Robinson. Or The Family Ness if you were a child of the 80s.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 10:44
  • @Astralbee - Except that Robinson isn't the Swiss family's surname. It used to puzzle me as a child, until I realised that it is used attributively to mean 'cast away like Robinson Crusoe'! Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 11:50
  • @KateBunting Nearly all English adaptations give them the family name 'Robinson'. Even the castaway family in Lost In Space were named after them. Whatever was meant in the original language by suffixing 'Robinson' was lost in translation.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 12:26
  • @Astralbee - Although movie and television adaptations typically name the family "Robinson", it is not a Swiss name. The German title translates as The Swiss Robinson which identifies the novel as part of the Robinsonade genre, rather than a story about a family named Robinson. (Wikipedia) Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 13:39

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