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was vs were Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Tuesday, June 8, 2021 7:51:09 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
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Speaking to TODAY, Mr Parkash, 26, said that the couple was walking towards their car at around 8pm on Saturday when the man approached them out of the blue to say that they were “a disgrace”, which was before the video recording started. The incident happened along Orchard Road.

Could "couple were walking" replace "couple was walking"?

Thanks!

FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, June 8, 2021 9:21:34 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 15,996
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Koh Elaine wrote:
Speaking to TODAY, Mr Parkash, 26, said that the couple was walking towards their car at around 8pm on Saturday when the man approached them out of the blue to say that they were “a disgrace”, which was before the video recording started. The incident happened along Orchard Road.

Could "couple were walking" replace "couple was walking"?

Thanks!


We've had this discussion before. In your example, "were" does sound better to me, and that's what I would say and write. However, it can be both ways, as this Usage Note from TFD on "couple" illustrates:

Usage Note: When used to refer to two people who function socially as a unit, as in a married couple, the word couple may take either a singular or a plural verb, depending on whether the members are considered individually or collectively: The couple were married last week. Only one couple was left on the dance floor. When a pronoun follows, they and their are more common than it and its: The couple decided to spend their (less commonly its) vacation in Florida. Using a singular verb and a plural pronoun, as in The couple wants their children to go to college, is widely considered to be incorrect. Care should be taken that the verb and pronoun agree in number: The couple want their children to go to college.
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