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In a message dated 9/21/04 12:30:53 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
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<<  English is also hesitant. This side of the Pond we tend treat collective
 > nouns as plural while the American tend to use the singular. We would say
 > "The committee are all agreed" the Americans, I believe, would say
 > something like "the committee is entirely agreed".

 In American English, nouns singular in form take singular agreement
 only, without regard to their semantics.  The only exception is *some*
 but not all pluralia tantum nouns (ones which do not have a syntactic
 singular form): the news is, the scissors are, the pants are, e.g. >>
Actually, according to the American English grammar texts I use in teaching
composition, a collective noun like "committee" takes the singular when
acting as a unit e.g."The committee presented its report" but takes the
plural when
its members are acting individually,e.g. "the committee took their seats."
John Leland