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I am trying to use two corpora,the BNC and COCA to ascertain the difference in instances of single and plural verb agreement between American and British English. I have some interesting ideas for variables to study but very little idea how to use the query syntax required to create searches in the two corpora. Can anyone shed some light on this?

I would like to search for instances of collective nouns (the two most frequently occurring in both languages) and their concord with verbs (I want to narrow my search to 'to be' and 'to have')

Any help would be greatly appreciated, I would love to have a discussion with more qualified linguists than I!

More info:

I wish to search, using Simple Query Syntax, through the British National Corpus and the Corpus of Contemporary American English for instances of collective nouns (the two most frequently occurring collective nouns in spoken English from each dialect, BrE and AmE) and how frequently they occur with either singular or plural, third person, present tense verb agreement (looking only at the verbs 'to be' - singular [is] or plural [are], and 'to have' - singular has)

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  • What is your question specifically, in stackexchange you can't ask broad question. – Andrew Ravus Apr 5 '16 at 13:55
  • As part of my dissertation, I wish to search, using Simple Query Syntax, through the British National Corpus and the Corpus of Contemporary American English for instances of collective nouns (the two most frequently occurring collective nouns in spoken English from each dialect, BrE and AmE) and how frequently they occur with either singular or plural, third person, present tense verb agreement (looking only at the verbs 'to be' - singular [is] or plural [are], and 'to have' - singular has). – Josh Mason-Goodall Apr 5 '16 at 19:04
  • This can be done easily by writing a python snippet. Edit your question and I will try to answer it. – Andrew Ravus Apr 5 '16 at 19:06

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