Winter Scene in Brooklyn,
Francis Guy, 1820,
oil on canvas.
I think I screwed up recently.
And I don't think dialogue excuses it. Not in this case.
And Miss Emily Bustlewhistle, head of the Select Academy for Young Ladies and instructor in Grammatical Deportment, would not be pleased with her former student.
The collective noun.
I have Lillie say, "The family have requested this."
The rule for collective nouns and their verbal agreement explains that a collective noun takes a singular verb when the group is thought of and a plural verb when the individuals are thought of.
I did not comply.
One says "My history class has decided to visit the museum" -- because the decision is presented as coming from a singular body, a group, a collective.
One also says "My history class are discussing plans for the visit" -- because individuals are yapping about options involved.
I might have gotten away with " the family have" -- if it were a case where the requests (plural) came from individual family members. Unfortunately, earlier in my narrative, I have made it plain that the request arises from a single document, does not encompass a set of individual petitions, and implies a single spokesperson as the assimilated voice for said family.
I lacked cohesion, logic.