a family of mice is or are

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Sun14

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, my friends,

I was wondering which phrase is more idiomatic:

"A family of mice is here."

"A family of mice are here."

Thoughts and context: I told my friends that all the family members of the mouse are here. I was wondering whether we can see a family as a group just like A set of keys is here.
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In BE, we can refer to a family in the singular, as one entity ,or in the plural, as the individual members of the family. In your sentences you could say either, but it's not the most natural way to say it. We are more likely to say 'There's a family of mice here'.

    But it seems you are talking about a specific mouse family? In which case you'd probably say 'The whole mouse family is here'.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Both are possible. The singular imagines the family as a single unit ; the plural as its members.
     
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