One Tough Grammar

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Should the Texas Federation of Teachers, which has endorsed Carole Keeton Strayhorn for governor, reconsider its choice? The Houston Chronicle quotes Strayhorn as saying, “The Texas Federation of Teachers know I will make sure that the days of underpaying and underappreciating teachers in Texas are coming to an end.” By using “know,” Strayhorn, a former teacher, violated the rules of subject-verb agreement. The “Texas Federation of Teachers” is a collective noun. When the members of a group are acting as one — as in making an endorsement — the verb must be singular. This is why I wrote, “…the Texas Federation of Teachers, which HAS endorsed….”) If the group ARE acting as individuals, the verb should take the plural form: The Texas Federation of Teachers DISAGREE over whom to endorse for governor. Which, by the way, happens to be true: The Houston AFT Chapter endorsed Chris Bell.

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