I'm curious about the use of the famous British plural verb form with a group noun¹ in a contraction. The general custom for the plural is discussed here and here but those don't call out contractions.
England football fans are currently singing the following to the tune of September by Earth, Wind, and Fire:
Woah, England are in Russia,
Woah, drinking all your vodka,
Woah, England's going all the way!
Now, it's a football song, not high poetry, but note that in the above, the first line uses England are but the last line uses England's. Unless we magically decide that the first England is the team but the second England is the country, that's...interesting.
The plural contraction is really awkward:
- England're going all the way
- Family're hard work sometimes
- The group're on it
...and as we know, awkwardness tends to get smoothed out of language. ;-)
Is this just a fudge to make the song's meter work? Or is it a deeper pattern to use the singular form in a contraction even when using the plural form otherwise, perhaps because of the awkwardness?
Sadly Google Ngrams won't let me look for England is going vs. England are going (and England is vs. England are is too general) and in any case, I'd be flooded with American English results. Trying to search Hansard, unfortunately Google Search treats the
' as a space.
I can't use my own instinct on this and am having trouble coming up with other examples to look for: I'm an English/American dual national who spent 30 years growing up in the U.S. reading British novels and watching British television on PBS, who's been back in the UK for 18 years. So my dialect is mid-Atlantic and horribly confused. :-)
¹ E.g. the team are vs. American English's the team is for nouns representing groups of people (roughly; there's lots of nuance).