Why is “the enemy have driven the British and French armies to the sea” grammatically correct?

In Christopher Nolans “Dunkirk” an opening caption appears with the first sentence:

“the enemy have driven the British and French armies to the sea”

My intuition tells me that it should be “the enemy has driven …” because the enemy is singular.

As I guess that this is not an error, why is it correct?

Answer

The enemy is a collective noun, which means the ending doesn’t exactly appear to be a plural noun but is. Similarly, “the media” is a collective noun. Therefore, one would say “the media are lying to the public,” as opposed to “the media is lying to the public” unless, with context, it can be understood that you are referring to one singular media entity as opposed to the entirety of the media.

So, “the enemy are attacking” could be correct if “the enemy” is more than one subject, but “the enemy is attacking” could also be correct assuming there is only one singular entity.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : user251210 , Answer Author : Graham

Leave a Comment