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Hi all

I am reading a biography of a band that includes a quote which was something like the following:

"The Beatles is [sic] the best band in the world."

This got me thinking, surely a band is singular, like a company, the original quote was grammatically correct and the author of the book was being a smarty pants, but got it wrong. To provide credence to my thinking, surely, some people would state:

"The Who is the best band in the world."

This would not be considered as being grammatically incorrect.

I would be grateful if anyone could confirm my thinking, or otherwise.

Please note I have changed the name of the actual band to not incriminate the author (to whom I have taken a dislike) or advertise my taste in music.

RE: Plural

Agree, '..... is the best band' is correct.

RE: Plural

Groups and collectives are singular entities. Things can get interesting when the Group takes its name from the individuals' names:

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is arguably the best folk-rock foursome of all time.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young are arguably four of the best folk-rock singers of all time.


RE: Plural


"the members of The Beatles are ..."
"The Beatles is ..."

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Plural

Thanks for the confirmation. I feel justified with the level of annoyance I feel towards the author. The author appears to have copied down reviews of albums, songs and concerts then fused them with tour itineraries and play lists. The occasional editorial is verbose and negative, making the author sound like the bass player who got kicked out of the band before they became big. AND the English is wrong.

RE: Plural

That's a tricky one for me.

The predicate (band) is clearly singular.
The subject (the Beatles) seems plural.

Would we have said:
"The Beatles is coming to town"
"The Beatles are coming to down"
The latter clearly is the winner to my ear.

Now would we say
"The Beatles were a band"
"The Beatles was a band"
That's a harder call.

Fred and There are no quotes around "The Beatles" to help me view it as the title of a group rather than reference to the members.
Maybe I am using "The Beatles" as a shorter way of referring to Ringo, Paul, George, and John

I don't think anyone would disagree with the statment:
"Torvil and Dean were the best ice-dancing pair in the competition"
(would they?)

This could be a parallel sentence structure to "The Beatles were the best band" (where we have used "The Beatles" as shorthand way to refer to the members Ringo, Paul, George, and John).

At any rate, it seems there is at least enough ambiguity in the meaning of "The Beatles" that I wouldn't begrudge the author a butt-covering "sic".

(2B)+(2B)' ?

RE: Plural

I think this falls into the ambiguous category, it could go either way, because 'The Beatles' could be referencing a single entity, the group, four people. George Harrison could say "I was a member of The Beatles", but he could also say "I was a Beatle." With this kind of ambiguity, I usually go with what sounds right even if it tends to fail a purely logical grammatical rule.


Kirby Wilkerson

Remember, first define the problem, then solve it.

RE: Plural

It really depends on the context and intent, e.g. if the Beatles (a collective noun) as a group are to visit to perform a concert it is correct to say - the Beatles is coming to town (to perform a concert).
However, if the Beatles as individuals are to visit then it would be correct to say - the Beatles, are coming to town, George and Paul will visit the local hospital while Ringo and John will visit the orphanage.

Many moons ago in Australia, the Alfred Hitchcock movie "The Birds" was cleverly advertised as The Birds is coming to town - this certainly was clever advertising as it generated no end of discussion re correct / incorrect grammar - it is correct.

It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. (Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia.)

RE: Plural

the Glasgow Rangers is a good team but the Glasgow Rangers supporters ar the best!

RE: Plural

How about later bands with non-plural names?

Rush is the best rock band in Canada.

Rush are the best rock band in Canada.


RE: Plural

The Yes is better than the No or they can´t be compared becouse they play different music.

RE: Plural

The The would be an easy one.

RE: Plural

The Who?

RE: Plural

And what about the YOU TWO?

RE: Plural


It wasn't "The Yes". it was just "Yes". This was common in rock bands back in the seventies. "Rush" is the same. They were not "The Rush".


RE: Plural

Both of your statements are wrong, or at least, incomplete:

"Rush is the best rock band in the WORLD."


RE: Plural

The Lovin' Spoonful is an American rock band.

or just Lovin'Spoonful is...?

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