jury are / is devided [divided]

Garbuz

Senior Member
Russian
I know 'jury' as a collective noun agrees with both a singular and a plural 'to be' depending on context. What's better in this particular sentence?

The jury were divided in their opinions. (1)
The jury was divided in its opinion. (2)

My choice is (1), however I'd like to check whether (2) is correct or not.

Thanks in advance.
 
Last edited:
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Let's just see which Google prefers:

    "jury were divided" -- about 31,500 results
    "jury was divided" -- about 15,200 results (15,201 when you add me). :)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In this example, I would use the singular form because the individual members are not divided. Each member has one opinion or another. It is the singular entity "jury" that is divided.
    The jury was divided.

    If I'm thinking about the individul members I would probably use a plural verb.
    The jury were not able to agree a verdict.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I agree with both Mr. Cat (new photo) and Mr. Panjandrum and expecially like the analysis offered by the latter. :)

    PS. And just a small question, Panjandrum - in your second example, is there a missing "on" before "verdict"?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I agree with both Mr. Cat (new photo) and Mr. Panjandrum and expecially like the analysis offered by the latter. :)
    Yes, the cat was impressed with that explanation, too. He always likes a little factoid backup for his personal opinions.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    My personal thinking is that the jury have a variety of opinions if they're divided, but it has a single opinion if it's agreed. Fowler in the influential Modern English Usage, however, said the opposite, if I remember rightly: the group is divided into parts, and the parts are united into a body. (As others here have said.) This makes sense too, and is perhaps more formal or old-fashioned, so more appropriate for describing a jury.
     
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