Why the recent subject-verb disagreement epidemic?

So, which is correct: a pile of brick or a pile of bricks?

Exactly. And Manchester United is a plural noun, so it takes a plural in the same way.

The plural form depends on the level of specificity. “A pile of brick” but “735 bricks”.

Tha sin math. Ceart ma-thà.

When I saw thread title, I wondered if people had started saying
‘They is a man or a woman but I don’t know (or refuse to tell you) which.’
(I have seen ‘themself’ with increasing frequency, though Google Book’s Ngram Viewer shows that a peak in 1819 has still not be equalled.)

The other difference is that Americans usually use a definite article with our sports teams: The Browns always lose. The Cleveland Indians sometimes get to the World Series, but then blow it. The Cavs are going to suck without LeBron. But you’d never say “The Manchester United”, or “The Arsenal”, or “The Madrid Real”.

So, would it be “half a metric ton of brick” but “475 kg of bricks”?

(Not just trying to be funny; I’m genuinely interested!)

They’re trying to get back at the French for wearing a T-shirt and a jean. :slight_smile:

That’s where they stash the missing “s” from “sport”.

Not quite - but it depends on your meaning. Definitely “412 bricks”. But for the rest, it depends if you’re thinking of “brick, the stuff” or “bricks, the items”

His house is built from brick. (You didn’t count them and you don’t care how many it took)

He brought bricks of gold as payment. (A certain number)

He’s a dealer in gold brick. (The stuff; how many is not the point)

And so on.

I’m going to go and get a bowl of rices now. :wink:

But “a pile of bricks” is OK if (in context) it matters, or is identifiable, how many are in the pile.

Actually, you do hear “the Arsenal,” but I think more in conversation than in print. Presumably referring back to the actual arsenal that gave the team its name.

As a long-standing Spurs fan (Tottenham Hotspur, not the US team) who are rivals of Arsenal, I can assure you that the expected choices are:

  • Arsene Wenger has left Arsenal after a glittering career
  • Arsenal have come below Spurs in the last two premier League seasons
  • Down with Arsenal!
  • Up the Arsenal!

So only the last features ‘the’…

I agree with DavidwithanR. 475 kg of brick is not necessarily identifiable as an exact quantity. I’d go with “brick” instead. However, “475 kg of individually numbered bricks” would be correct. Think about “sand” vs. “grains of sand”. If the individual nature is important, go with the countable plural.

Manchester --> city name --> singular; Manchester United --> players --> plural.

You’re not even being internally consistent with your own peeve. If “Manchester United is the name of 1 soccer team and should therefore take the singular verb form” as you state in the OP, then “Yankees” also refers to 1 baseball team, and should also take the singular verb form". They either both refer to the team (singular), or they both refer to the players (plural).
So which is it? Does the name of the team refer to one single team, or does it refer to all of the players? I think it’s the absence of an “s” or “s sound” that is tripping you up.

There is no single, correct way to use the English language. As long as it conveys meaning between speakers in a conversation the various quirks are merely the equivalent of wearing a funny hat whilst doing so.

Well, they had an extra ‘s’ sitting around after they removed it from ‘sports’. Had to go somewhere I guess.

I see I was ninja’d upthread. Sorry :smack:

We use both "sports"and “sport” in British english whereas we pretty much never use the word “math”

My experience comes from talking to friends in London who most definitely say “the” Arsenal at least sometimes when referring to their preferred team. However, maybe that usage is peculiar to a small group of supporters.