A news item says, "H C Gupta and five firms have been named as an accused". Is it proper to use an accused when the accused are six six in number in this case?

If the usage an accused is proper, kindly point out the underlying grammar principle also - for better clarity on the usage.

  • 1
    Can you please link your quote to the source so as to have more context? Apr 30, 2015 at 7:30
  • The author would have done well to write "...have each been named as an accused". google.com/…
    – TimR
    Apr 30, 2015 at 11:50
  • @Lucian Sava The answer TRomano provided is quite satisfactory, yet I add the link here. Please see the first line of 4th para at [link] (thehindu.com/todays-paper/special-courts-poser-to-cbi/…)
    – rajankila
    May 8, 2015 at 17:08
  • TRomano's assertion is fine but the sentence from your link is ungrammatical (IMHO). May 8, 2015 at 18:54
  • @Lucian Sava Yes,the sentence is ungrammatical and it should have been as TRomano had said.
    – rajankila
    May 10, 2015 at 3:03

1 Answer 1


When we have more than one entity named as the subject in a (here passive) construction, we use the word each to indicate that the verb-phrase applies to the nouns individually and not as a group:

Moe, Larry, and Curly have each been punched in the nose.

H C Gupta and five firms have each been named as an accused.

The same is true of active voice constructions; we use each to indicate that the subjects individually are doing the thing referred to by the verb-phrase, not acting as one:

H C Gupta and the five firms are each hiring lawyers to represent them.

That means each company is hiring its own lawyers; they're not sharing lawyers; they're defending themselves individually.

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