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I wonder if the word "public" is plural or singular. Does anybody know?

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"Public" is a completely straightforward singular noun. What makes you think otherwise? – JSBձոգչ May 18 '12 at 17:31
@JSBձոգչ You can use "public" with plural concord. – Mark Beadles May 18 '12 at 17:36
Related: Is “staff” plural?Is a company always plural, or are small companies singular? ◊ And many others linked from these. – RegDwigнt May 18 '12 at 19:40

1 Answer 1

The adjective "public" is neither, since English does not as a rule mark number on adjectives.

The noun "public" is a mass and a collective noun. Unlike "people", it may take either plural or singular concord depending on the dialect and register and preference of the speaker. For example:

The public are getting restless about the austerity measures.

The public is getting restless about the austerity measures.

...have the same meaning and are both acceptable.

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protected by tchrist Sep 20 at 11:39

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