General Writing and Grammar Help/Grammar Q

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Question
Which:
"Its first emphasis is to preserve the opinion of the school's youth."
Or
"Its first emphasis is to preserve the opinions of the school's youth."

I thought plural, since they all have individual opinions, but my friend says it's the school's collective youth so it's singular.
Thank you for your help!
Darin

Answer
Darin,

Although youth is singular, "opinions" would be plural unless the meaning is that all of the young people share the same opinion.

Reason:  A group (collective) can have more than one opinion.

Example:  The opinions expressed by the Republican party aren't worth crap.

I hope that helps,

Jerry Leone  

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Jerry Leone

Expertise

I`ve taught writing or some aspect of the English language for nearly 35 years. I can answer nearly any question on grammar, usage or meanings of words above dictionary usage. An avid crossword fan and writer, I can also answer questions about business presentations and resumes.

Experience

I have worked with words all my life as a teacher of the language and as an amateur and professional writer. Communication is a vital force in my life and everyone else's.

Organizations
Sigma Delta Chi, NY Press Association, NY Publishers Association

Education/Credentials
BA in English from the University of Buffalo, MEd in English from SUNY Buffalo, MA in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo. Course work in Journalism from Syracuse Univ., in Linguistics from Rutgers Univ. and Journalism from Univ. of Texas and Ohio Univesrity.

Awards and Honors
Chancellor's Award for Excellence Teaching SUNY, Distinguished Teaching Award SUNY Morrisville, Who's Who in American Journalism Education

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