The word family


Senior Member
Neither of us is leaving our spouses or family.

How come family is singular, whereas spouses is plural? Aren't we talking about two spouses and two families?

  • Actually, it should be spouse, not spouses. 'Neither of us' is singular, so only has one spouse and one family.
    "Neither of us is leaving our spouse or family"
    "We are both staying with our spouses and families"
    Family is a collective noun. A family comprises several indiduals, for example a mother, a father, a son, a daughter. In Britain one may only have one spouse by law. A husband or a wife.
    Obviously this quote comes from a polygamous culture :D

    The sentence is a mixture of singular/plural:
    Neither of us - usually singular
    is - singular
    our - plural
    spouses - plural
    family - singular

    If each of us didn't have plural spouses ...

    My guess is that our is used to avoid a sex-specific pronoun. That has persuaded a plural verb. So why isn't it:
    Neither of us is leaving his spouse or family;
    Neither of us is leaving her spouse or family.

    Because us consists of one man, one woman.
    Perhaps they are having an affair, but have decided to keep it quiet and remain with their spouses and families.
    Neither of us is leaving our spouses or family.

    Yes, I took this from a Dear Abby column. I am confused, is the original sentence correct? (It is about an affair.) Thanks.