Similar question to that of Amélie :

JimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Similar question to that of Amélie :

"Là, une multitude d'étals de poissons fraîchement pêchés aiguisaient l'appétit des passants"

I don't understand the plural here: Isn't it "Une multitude d'étals" - multitude being singular - which is the subject of the verb - rather than "D'étals" themselves, which would be plural.

I'm trying to devine whether there is some rule at work here here, or whether it's pretty much optional.

Asked 1 month ago
MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Jim, 

in this case the focus is the fish stalls with their fresh fish, rather than ‘the multitude’. 

According to Larousse, ‘ une multitude …’ is usually followed by the plural, whereas ‘ la multitude ‘ ( focus on the multitude) is usually followed by the singular verb form. 

This general rule applies to most ( but not all) similar nouns :

DIFFICULTÉS

ACCORD

Avec la multitude des, le verbe se met normalement au singulier : la multitude des étoiles ne peut pas être reproduite sur un petit planisphère.

Avec une multitude de, le verbe se met au pluriel : une multitude d'étoiles brillent dans le ciel.

https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/la_plupart/61784#difficulte 

Much the same distinction applies in English to ‘singular’ collective group nouns that can also indicate either ‘the group’ or ‘ a grouping of individuals (or things). 

https://brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/24/majority-are-majority-is/#:~:text=If%20you%20mean%20the%20word,next%20meeting%20at%206%3A00

 

 

Similar question to that of Amélie :

"Là, une multitude d'étals de poissons fraîchement pêchés aiguisaient l'appétit des passants"

I don't understand the plural here: Isn't it "Une multitude d'étals" - multitude being singular - which is the subject of the verb - rather than "D'étals" themselves, which would be plural.

I'm trying to devine whether there is some rule at work here here, or whether it's pretty much optional.

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