Actually, I'm going to throw something in here. I know a family who own a medium-size farm on the edge of the Midlands and as they were re-sizing fields and updating fences for financial reasons, and constructing a stable IN one, they frequently spoke about having to 'work ON the fields' longer than they anticipated. So, although most of the good people here who rightly say to 'work in the fields' is much more common, there still exists a small contextual element here.
In English, "ground" and "fields" are not the same. We "stand on the ground" but we "work in the fields". Fields includes the ground plus whatever grows above the ground. So if the grass, corn, etc were tall enough, you would in a sense be working "inside" the fields. But we say "in" the fields.
It's really interesting how different languages handle prepositions. In German we say “ON the field/ picture/ street/ island (like Mallorca/ Madagascar et al.) “ but “I am IN England/ Australia/ Italy/ Greenland“ etc., and although I'm a native speaker I couldn't explain when to use which.
І think it
s more logic to be IN the room (closed space), in the city, in the country (closed border), but On the air, on the field, on the planet (open space). Its just a difference of abstract thinking :). But sometimes we also say "in the fields" when we mean the field of somebody, or some concrete field (has border), also when somebody goes from the city or villages - In the field (from closed border to other space). It`s interesting, but no need to change somthing on DL.
Yeah, and that's totally WRONG. It's an issue with North American English comprehension. You cannot have a group of ONE (1).
e.g. A Crowd
A Sports team
All of those are plural. Period. In a sentence, it should be properly stated as "My family ARE coming for dinner tonight." or "The crowd ARE going wild about the great play." or "Chicago ARE a great baseball team."
This confusion is further exasperated by sports commentators who will change from singular to plural, mid sentence.
e.g. "The Alabama defense is tough and they will make a goal-line stand."
Again, this is simply a misunderstanding of plural and singular. The Alabama defense is ALWAYS PLURAL since you cannot have a defense of 1 (on a team). it makes no sense.
It takes a long time to get people to see this error, but yes, it's an error. I'm an American (USA) and I started changing the way I state these sentences to mirror correct English... you know, from ENGLAND!
Yes. They're still plural. "The state" would depend on what you're talking about though. If you're talking about the state of AZ, then it's singular, as there's only one Arizona. However, if you're talking about the state as in a governing body, then it's plural.
Basically, just change "the [ whatever ]" to "they" and if the sentence still makes sense for how you're using it, then you know it's correct.
As another example, there are sports team with "singular" mascots. For instance, the Miami Heat or Tampa Bay Lightning. They aren't all of a sudden singular just because there's no "s" at the end of their name.
If one can say "The Bears are going to win the Super Bowl" then surely "Chicago are going to win the Super Bowl" is the exact same thing. I've not actually changed the subject, it's still the same team (group). Why people can't seem to understand this is pretty strange.
Almighty science, this seems a big issue for you. I am not sure why. In the UK both singular and plural are frequently used. In Italy no. Family is a singular I am told. Following the posts on here it would seem entirely regional. No wrong or right. UK US and Canada. A minor point surely?
Different languages and indeed different groups of the same language handle collective nouns differently; it is not an error. If you wish to be rigid in this approach then What about, “My hair is brown”? Almost no one pictures a single brown hair sprouting from an otherwise bald head. “Hair” refers to the entire group of hairs...So you are welcome to, “My hair are brown”.
The real issue here is: does DL accept "The family work in the fields."? To be absolutely correct the 3rd person singular should be used, but in UK English both "The family work" and "The family works" are commonly used and as such the translation "The family work" is correct .
Family is also plural, see for example http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/family
I am not a native English speaker and the fact makes me curious. Then I do research on it...: http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/threads/3053-My-family-are-(or-is)
Something like that. Can the Italian sentence mean that they usually work in the fields (i.e. that's their workplace), or does it mean that they are working there right now? If it's the latter, it should be possible to translate the Italian sentence as "The family is working in the fields". Compare to another sentence. "I work at the library" would mean that I'm employed by or usually work at the library, but "I'm working at the library" means I'm there right now.
This sentence has caused a lot of discussion about English interpretation, and everyone has a good point. However I do sometimes think we get too hung up about English translation when we actually should be focussing on how it would be said in Italian. The family is singular in Italian, no question, although it can be singular or plural in English. Quite probably In the fields is correct in Italian. although in English it could be on or in. These fine translations can waste our energy. Translations are frequently an elastic interpretation. Lets just try to say it like an Italian would. Sometimes I make translations that are clumsy in English, just to focus on the Italian format
Great reply beetle. Most people are missing the point .. what's important here is the Italian usage, which it seems is 99.9% singular for "famiglia". As for in vs. on, well, the briefest of Italian courses will tell you that prepositions are completely idiomatic for each language. The food can be "in" the plate, or "on" the plate, and you must just "do as the Romans do" !
I think that's fine myself, seems 99% same meaning as the other. It's just not in the list of accepted words for this question. I guess more context would help .. is it a modern family driving machinery, harvesting fruit etc, or is it an old-time family hand-cutting hay etc, which would definitely be more a "laboring" meaning.