Contemporary essays, fiction, and opinion offered regularly by author Anne Brandt.

Question for the week
Is there anything wrong with the following phrase? "It cost less to reuse boxes than to buy new ones."
Rules of the Games
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Kelly, from Fall River, MA, asks...
Please help me! I had a sentence in my homework that i think is right but my techer marked it wrong. The jury_______ their seats in the courtroom. is it take/takes. I think it should be takes because jury is a collective noun and should be treated as singular. My teacher says its take and did not give me an explanation. please help
Anne answers...
First, jury is a collective noun if you mean all the jurors as a group. I think this is how you are interpreting the sentence. Perhaps your teacher is thinking of the individual members in the jury, in which case she is correct. But there is another problem. If we go with the collective point of view, then we have to change their to it. Maybe that's why your teacher's answer book gives 'take' as correct. A better sentence would be "The jury members take their seats."
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