"המשטרה לא עוצרת אותנו."
Translation:The police aren't arresting us.
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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.
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.
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').
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?
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. :-)
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.
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."