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I know that police is always plural, but when it comes to which pronouns to use with it, is it also considered plural, that is, do we use these and those woth it?

I suppose it'd be better to just use those policemen instead.

I haven't found any other question about which pronouns to use with police.

  1. Look, [those/that] police are trying to catch us!
  2. [These/this] police are working harder than the previous ones.
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  • I've a feeling "those police officers", "those policemen" if they were all men, or similar would be more usual if you're indicating/picking out about particular people in uniform (rather than police in general or as a whole).
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 9:27
  • 2
    Yes - police refers to the organisation. We wouldn't call an individual officer 'a police'. Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 9:40
  • Isn't "police" usually singular? "I've spoken to the police", "the police quickly arrived on the scene", etc.
    – Showsni
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 10:44
  • Also, your examples both use the word 'police are...' If you use the word 'are,' you have to automatically use those/these, or some other plural pronoun
    – Heartspring
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 11:35
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    'Police' is a very unusual 'quasi-count noun' (10 000 police were ...' but '*3 police were'. It is singular in form (and countifies, taking a plural, 'the polices [= constabularies] of several counties'). It takes, however, a plural verb form ('Police were yesterday searching ...'. I'd say it's etically countable (6 policemen ...). // I suppose '7 members of the Sterrytown Police were ...' is the best way to handle such phrases. Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 19:48

2 Answers 2

2

Those police is informal but correct.

That policeman is singular.

Those police officers were tall.

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When you say I've spoken to the police or the police arrived, the noun refers to the organisation in general, even though only one or a few individual officers were involved in the situation. We never say these/those police to refer to a particular group of police officers.

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  • It's a travesty to compare out-of-state police forces to our hometown heroes: these police here are fine upstanding citizens; those police there are nothing but stooges and crooks. (Or substitute whether opinion you happen to hold, but these and those work fine in context.
    – fectin
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 18:05

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