A Murder of Crows and Other Terms of Venery by Stephanie Whetstone

2020-03-19T13:51:27-04:00

A Murder of Crows and Other Terms of Venery by Stephanie Whetstone Driving to the shore a few weeks ago, my husband and I passed a wide field full of swans. I had never seen such a sight. It seemed magical that there would be so many of them in one spot, as if a wizard had turned a group of farmers into these beautiful birds in some fairytale. I knew there was a special collective noun for such a phenomenon; after all, we use collective nouns every day (a staff of employees, a panel of experts, a team of players). [...]

A Murder of Crows and Other Terms of Venery by Stephanie Whetstone2020-03-19T13:51:27-04:00

The Whole or the Parts?

2020-01-14T14:23:31-05:00

The Whole or the Parts? Our daily discourse is sprinkled with collective nouns – words such as faculty, team, committee, and family that are singular in form but plural in implication. This creates a dilemma for careful writers. Is the board opposed to the admission of ten-year-olds or are the board against it? Is the class producing good work or are the class excelling? The answer depends on whether we choose to focus on the group as a whole or on its constituent parts. Context matters. If the family went their separate ways after the funeral, then it makes no sense [...]

The Whole or the Parts?2020-01-14T14:23:31-05:00

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