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Please, forgive me if this has already been asked. I did a quick search and found nothing specifically regarding Canadians, but a kind redirection would be helpful if this is a repeat.

I understand the British/American differences regarding collective nouns. I also know how Canadians officially view collective nouns, which is the same as the British way. However, I would like to know how most Canadians actually use them on a day-to-day basis.

Canadians, how would you write these sentences?

-Alice's family ____ to vacation in Seattle this summer. (plan/plans)

-The band _____ been tuning their instruments for five hours. (has/have)

Canadians, would with the last sentence you say has if all of the band members have been tuning their instruments together, and have if they're tuning them individually?

What about sports?

-England ___ playing well today. (is/are)

Do most Canadians make these distinctions in common speech? What about formal writing? I am moving to Alberta, Canada and I want to make sure I fit in as much as possible. I've already looked up the spelling differences btw.

Also, any good websites where I can confirm whether Canadians say the following:

I'm going to hospital (or to the hospital). I read online that both are used. I love playing sport (or sports). I hate studying maths (or math).

Thanks!

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I lived in Calgary for two years (grades 11 and 12 of high school), and I don't recall ever hearing anyone say "maths." Calgarians do (or did) say "going to hospital" (as opposed to "going to the hospital") and "going to university" (as opposed to the usual U.S. wording "going to college").

I don't remember how they handled "sport" vs. "sports" (which suggests to me that they probably said "sports")—but you can ask anyone you meet there what the normal wording is and receive an honest, informed answer. I do remember listening to CFL games on the radio and hearing the announcer say things like "Calgary have the ball on their own 50 yard line," and referring to the after-game summary as a "résumé" rather than as a "recap."

Basically, you'll learn best by listening, acquiring the vocabulary and accent and syntax by osmosis. When I first got there, I tried (rather imperfectly) to imitate the speech patterns I was hearing, and one home-grown classmate asked me if I was from England. Nope, Texas. But by the time I returned to "the States" (as Albertans called the country to the south), I was chirping like a native and completely at ease with the such understated formulations as "It's a bit nippy out." (meaning "It's bleeping freezing!") and "So we didn't win, eh?" (meaning "Yay! We won!").

Anyway, enjoy Alberta. It's a beautiful province, and the people are just wonderful! I envy you the experience you're about to have.

  • Thank you so much! I'll try my best to hide my southern Tennessee drawl, but I certainly don't want to confuse anyone! Thanks again! – user125456 Jun 18 '15 at 20:26
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I'm first generation of British parents so my Canadian English is a bit British, but ...

  • Alice's family plan to vacation in Seattle this summer.

    I don't see them as a unit, they're a collection of individuals

  • The band has been tuning their instruments for five hours.

    The band is tight; and, I'm waiting for the band, not for the individuals.

  • Canadians, would with the last sentence you say has if all of the band members have been tuning their instruments together, and have if they're tuning them individually?

    Doesn't a band tune its instruments together?

    Also "the band has ..." whereas "the band members have ...".

  • England is playing well today.

    One team and one country.

  • I'm going to hospital (or to the hospital). I read online that both are used.

    The former is a state of health, the latter is a location (especially if I have any specific hospital in mind). "I've had an accident so I'm going to hospital" and "I have an appointment so I'm going to the hospital."

  • Also, any good websites where I can confirm

    The following searches imply both are used, without the distinction that I made above:

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