Thursday, November 13, 2008

Couple--Plural and Singular

These phrases came up in a story today.

Which would/should you choose?

the couple wear(s) matching smiles

the couple steal(s) a moment together

the couple steal(s) a moment alone
the couple take(s) their first spin on the dance floor
And why?

I'll come put my answers in the Comments


TootsNYC said...

OK, here's what I did

there are two smiles
the couple have matching smiles

because of "together," there are two people
the couple steal a moment together

when they are focusing on the two of them being apart from others, we can emphasize the single unit
the couple steals a moment alone

they are having a spin, but it is *a* spin, and we can emphasize the oneness
the couple take their first spin on the dance floor

Would you do it differenty?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the verb modify the noun "couple" which is singular and there fore the (s) is needed in all of your phrases?

TootsNYC said...

That's the thing w/ "couple"--it is a singular or a plural, depending on the context and the emphasis (per Words Into Type)

JD said...

Being a Brit, I'm inclined towards the plural form in all cases (wear, steal etc).

Anonymous said...

In No. 2, "together" led me to make couple singular--they're doing it together, so they're acting as one. I agree on the others.

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