The grammatical number of 'our family'

  1. My family lives in Osaka.
  2. My family live in Osaka.
  3. All my family are early risers.

I wonder whether the grammatical number of ‘my family’ is dependent on the context?

単数扱いが原則だが《主に英》ではしばしば複数扱い. 1人1人をさす時は一般に複数扱い:My ~ lives [《主に英》live] in Osaka. 私の家族は大阪に住んでいる / All my ~ are early risers. 私の家族は皆早起きです《◆この例では家族の1人1人をさすことを暗示するので《米》でも複数扱いがふつう》.
ーー ジーニアス英和よりfamilyの項目を引用ーー

  1. Almost every family in the country owns a television.
  2. All my family enjoy skiing.

Should this be called ‘semantic’ number, not grammatical number?

Trust you to come up with a question like that! You’d have to address the linguists and grammarians among us to get a pertinent reply, I fear.

According to the dictionary–the dictionary from which I quoted a piece of information–, ‘family’ should, in principle, be treated as singular, although British people tend to treat the word as plural.
On the other hand, if the word signifies each person that constitutes a family, it is treated as plural.


Yutaka, I think you dictionary explains correctly.
I was taught the same.
But for example ‘the police’ is used with the verb in Plural.
And some nouns have no Plural, like:
advice, business, information, news, money, knowledge.

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