Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.
kitten   April 30, 2003

One thing that really annoys me about British people, and those who learn British English, is their complete inability to figure out subject/verb agreement.

It's a fairly basic concept, one that was learned long ago, and is so integrated into our speech patterns that we don't need to conciously think about it. But the entire concept seems to absolutely elude those from England.

Let us suppose that you want to express the idea that a group of musicians, who operate under a common banner, are performing their music at this time.

You would say, "The band is playing."
But not in England. No, in England they'd say, "The band are playing."

Or, suppose you want to state your opinion that a group of sports-playing people, again operating under a common banner and acting in the collective interest of the group, has little to no talent.

You would then say, "The team sucks."
In England, they'd say, "The team suck."

This should sound wrong to your ears, and appear odd to your eyes, and there's a reason for that: Because it is wrong.

The concept of subject/verb agreement means that, if the subject is singular, the verb should also be singular, and if the subject is plural, so is the verb.

"Band" refers to a single entity. There are multiple entites (the people) within the band, but "band" itself is a singular noun. Thus, the proper phrasing should be, "The band is playing," where "is" is the verb, a singular verb, being applied to the singular subject "band".

The same goes for "team".

The problem lies in the fact that, for some reason, the British have it in their heads that since a "band" by definition is made up of two or more people, it is plural, and so the plural verb "are" should be used.

This is completely incorrect.

team ( P ) Pronunciation Key (tm)
n.
Sports & Games. A group on the same side, as in a game.
A group organized to work together: a team of engineers.
A group. One. A single group. Am I making myself clear?

It's as absurd as saying "The country are going to war," under the premise that a country is composed of multiple entites (cities, states, people, whatever). Yes, that is true, but "country" is the word we apply to this grouping when they are acting as a single unified whole.

If, in the US, you were to hear someone say "My class don't listen to the teacher," you would assume that the person was a poorly-spoken individual, and if you were of the mindset to do so, you'd correct them (especially if you were the teacher in question). Merely because a class is composed of multiple students does not mean "class" itself is plural.

If the English could learn this, and then do something about their disgusting food, revolting names applied to said food, royal families, silly games like Parliamentary democracy and cricket, maybe someone would listen to them.

Until then, they're just wankers.

State of the state.
kitten   April 28, 2003

So, as you can see, after our version of Operation Enduring Downtime, the walled city and mirrorshades.org, and all wholly owned subsidiaries, are back.

hastur, the machine that mirrorshades.org and .net live on, used to be colo'd at Atlanta CapNet. Bryan decided that he'd grown tired of paying colo fees, and that he could just let the machine sit on his SDSL connection in Philidelphia, so phone calls were made, the plug was pulled, hastur was pulled off the rack, and...

...sat there. As far as I can tell, it just sat there for a week and a half and nobody bothered actually shipping it up to Philly. Bryan, useless wanker that he is, didn't bother, you know, actually trying to find out what had happened to more than 500 dollars worth of electronic wizardry. No, he sat on his ass and waved his hands around like little girly-man.

Obviously it was up to me, so I called Vlad over at CapNet, who invented some half-baked creative half-truth about shipping and tracking numbers. In reality, he hadn't done a thing, and my phone call sort of spurred him into action, and he shipped it two days later. It finally arrived a full two and a half weeks after it was supposed to be there, at which point Bryan got it back up and running, so that you all may bask in the joy and glory that is.. this crap.