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  5. "המשטרה לא עוצרת אותנו."

"המשטרה לא עוצרת אותנו."

Translation:The police aren't arresting us.

July 9, 2016

31 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hurricanechild

Singular should be accepted. It's a natural sentence in English, just like you say "my family is visiting" when it's understood that a family is made up of multiple people. I'm here to learn Hebrew, which is hard enough without insisting on stupid technicalities in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeribleT

It is plural in English. it's called a plurale tantum. There's NO singular form. See my links above.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LSadun

That's an overstatement. You're right that "police" is plural 99% of the time, which is a good enough reason to reject "police is" in this exercise. However, "police" is also a short form of "police force" or "police department", both of which are singular. For instance:

John Smith now leads the troubled Chicago Police, which has had (not "have had") 5 different commissioners in the last 3 years.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeribleT

Right, but not for using is vs are. And the context gives the clue. It's also English, which has many variables and which sometimes depends on where it's spoken;UK vs US have different rules on when to use plural (for words like 'team').

https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/78855/plural-followed-by-singular-have-or-has

https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/4995/when-to-treat-police-as-a-singular-noun-and-a-plural-noun


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/boltushka

Does המשטרה mean police as an institution or police as a policeman/policewoman or both?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bar_an

שוטרת=policewoman. שוטר=policeman. משטרה=police.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/boltushka

Thank you!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yahalomah

לא, שורטים?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeribleT

Maybe it's for multiple arrests?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeribleT

All of these words are in the Memrise Duolingo Hebrew vocabulary course with audio as well.

All the words with audio are here I'm learning Hebrew Duolingo vocab on Memrise! http://www.memrise.com/course/1031737/ (


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ilpuca

Shouldn't "The police isn't arresting us" be acceptable?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LSadun

In English, "the police" can refer to a group of policemen (plural) or to the police force (singular). "The police aren't arresting us" and "the police isn't arresting us" are both correct English, albeit with slightly different connotations.

Meanwhile, doesn't עוצר mean "stop" as well as "arrest"? Shouldn't "the police isn't/aren't stopping us" be accepted? That could either mean that the police prevent us from doing what we wanted, or that they momentarily detain us but eventually decide not to arrest us and let us go.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tamarw

Yes. In other exercises for this lesson, עוצר for "stop" is completely interchangeable with "arrest."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hazar1948

If it refers to one policeman so you're right


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael112818

How to know when it means to stop and when to arrest?

E.g. If someone tells you that he was driving and then the police עוצר אותו . Does that mean they jjst stopped his car, or did they actually arrest him and took him to prison or something? How wo you differentiate these two?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IngeborgHa14

Only context will tell you that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stev0R

This sounds really similar to עוזרת . Could be confusing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mabel544786

if המשטרה is a unit, why can we not use "is" here? In hebrew the verb clearly defines it as singular, עוצרת.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeribleT

see above. There's NO singular form of the word in English. So you can't use "is".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnAlex77

"The police isn't arresting" is no less (if not more) acceptable in English, however, it's marked as wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeribleT

Analex, it's not accepted because it's completely wrong. See above. Police is a plurale tantum. It's only ever plural. Is = singular. Are = plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnAlex77

On the contrary. You should check your sources of information. "Police" is NOT a plurale tantum. It CAN be used as singular. It all depends on the intended meaning. As you can easily see in the dictionaries, the term "police" can refer to (1) the organized civil force or unit -- then it is singular, or (2) the members of such a force collectively -- then it is plural.

In such cases verbs can follow EITHER concord by grammatical form (constructio ad formam) OR concord by meaning (constructio ad sensum). So it can be either "the police ARE" or "the police IS."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeribleT

Dude, you're wrong, get over it. It's always plural on its own. If you add force, as in police force or police unit, then you can use singular because of "force" or "unit". You clearly didn't read the links. Police is plural the same way scissors, pants and glasses are plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LSadun

There's nothing in your Webster's reference that says "police" is plural. Just the opposite:

It says that the plural of police is police. The first definition is pretty clearly singular. Entries 2b and 3b are explicitly marked as plural, implying that 2a and 3a (which are not marked as plural) are considered singular.

Bottom line: It may always be plural where you live, and it may always be plural when you use the word, and it's usually plural when I use it, but there are places and usages where it's singular.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LSadun

@TerribleT: Nobody is having any trouble understanding what you're saying. Accepting it is another story, and your repeating the assertion in ALL CAPS isn't very persuasive.

I don't speak British English, so it wouldn't surprise me if police (as opposed to police force) were always plural in the UK, as supported by your references to Oxford, Cambridge, and EnglishLessonsBrighton. Point taken. But American English is another story, and none of your references indicate that police is always plural in the US. FWIW, WordHippo is Australian and Grammaring is Hungarian (!), so they're not exactly authoritative about American English. Grammarly supports what you say about "police" -- point taken -- but also points out that many words, like family, are singular in American English and plural in British English.

The only unambiguously American reference on your list is Webster's. The second line says plural: police, indicating that the plural of police is police. For comparison, look at the definitions of sheep or fish on that site, which have exactly the same structure, or jewelry, which is already plural and has NO "plural: X" line. Then look at the actual definitions of the noun. 1a, 1b, 2a and 3a are clearly singular, while 2b, 3b and 6b are clearly plural, and the rest are debatable. In particular, definition 2a says that police can mean police force, which you already agreed can be singular.

I rest my case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LSadun

I certainly did read the links. Would you please do likewise?

I grant that Grammerly supports you. I even said so in my post! My counter-argument is: Webster's, which has been the premier American English dictionary for 20 times longer than Grammerly has even existed. Look again at the listing for police. Then look at the Webster listings for sheep, and fish, and jewelry. You'll see that you misread the structure of the entry. Police, sheep and fish are nouns that can be either singular or plural, while jewelry is always plural.

For the record, when I use police it DOES almost always take a plural verb. IMO, it DOES totally makes sense for DL to give "the police aren't arresting us" as the default translation. But "almost always" doesn't mean "always".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeribleT

I'm not sure why people are having difficulty understanding this. If you use "police force" then you can use singular because it's singular from "force". If you ONLY use police it's ALWAYS PLURAL. In the link you referenced, says right at the top, under police "plural". Then gives the definitions for how it's used. The ones where it's not listed specifically as plural are ones where it links another term : campus police, police force. Those are units that can be singular.

This isn't a case where it can go either way, "police" as a word on its own is plural. https://www.grammaring.com/nouns-which-are-always-plural

http://www.englishlessonsbrighton.co.uk/police-uncountable-plural-noun/

https://www.wordhippo.com/what-is/the-plural-of/police.html

https://www.grammarly.com/blog/collective-nouns/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeribleT

You clearly didn't read the links, and have made no case. Your argument is: because you said so.

From grammarly (capitalisation is my own):

Some Collective Nouns That Are Always Singular or Plural

For reasons that can only be explained by tradition, “police,” when used as a collective noun, is ALWAYS PLURAL in both American and British English.

Police are investigating a suspicious death on Reaper Street.

The Grammar Police plan to arrest three individuals involved in a subject-verb disagreement.

However illogical it may seem, “police force” is singular—again, traditionally speaking.

The Toronto police force is exquisitely disciplined.

Collective Nouns for People and Animals Collective nouns for groups of people, fish, and other animals are diverse and numerous, and each term comes with its own fascinating history. Many terms for groups of animals were first recorded in The Book of St. Albans, published in 1486, and their use flourished among hunters. The terms for groups of people are equally interesting. For instance, did you know that according to Merriam-Webster, the term “a panel of experts” evolved from pannelus, a diminutive Latin word for a piece of cloth, and that this term was once used to describe pieces of parchment on which jury lists were written?

Such collective nouns have such individual origins that there is no way to learn them all except to look them up. Three cheers for the internet!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnAlex77

TeribleT: can't you read your own quotes? "For reasons that can only be explained by tradition, “police,” when used as a collective noun..." Notice: "WHEN used as a collective." It means it doesn't always have to be used as a collective. This is exactly what I wrote to you earlier and what some other users wrote as well. When the collective meaning is implied, it IS plural. No doubt about that. But it's not a plurale tantum in EVERY meaning and signification of the word.

To borrow somewhat from your own style and idiom (grin): Dudette, chill out and get over it! Admit you don't know all and that Internet is no substitute to knowing grammar. :-)

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