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On Sat, Dec 20, 2008 at 02:32:02AM +0100, David Marjanovic scripsit:
>> This is because it doesn't matter if the noun is collective,
>> it matters if the noun phrase is collective. "The postcrania
>> of *Cedarpelta*" is plausibly collective, and English will
>> go a long way on plausibly.
>> Similarly, "David's library is a matter of scientific curiosity"
>> or "Graydon's computer parts pile is not very well organized".
> These examples are tangential to the point, because "library" and "pile"
> are singular...
I seem to have focused on the phrasal part of the example a bit too much
"The AMNH's collection of six hundred and seventeen sauropod skulls is
considered remarkable" is OK because "collection" is singular.
"Six hundred and seventeen sauropod skulls are considered a large
collection", because we don't have anything collective happening,
everything is modifying the plural "skulls".
"Six hundred and seventeen sauropod skulls considered as a group of
ontogentic serieses is the subject of this talk" is also OK, because the
admittedly rather lumpy noun phrase "Six hundred and seventeen sauropod
skulls considered as a group of ontogenetic serieses" is a plausible
collective noun phrase.
The real fun starts when one introduces numberless nouns like sheep and
moose; thankfully, I do not believe anyone's managed to introduce any
numberless nouns into dinosaur nomenclature.