A Typo in The New Yorker!

In my decades of subscribing to The New Yorker (yes, “The” is part of the title), I don’t recall ever coming across a typo.  But the December 3 issue contains the following sentence:

“Several nights a week, a group of sixteen strangers gather around his dining-room table to eat delicacies he has handpicked and prepared for them….”

The subject of that sentence is “group,” which is singular, even though a group is made up of more than one person.  It’s called a collective noun.  “Of sixteen strangers” is a prepositional phrase, and although every prepositional phrase contains—usually—a noun (in this case “strangers”) and sometimes a pronoun, that noun or pronoun in the prepositional phrase will never be the subject of the sentence.

Therefore, the correct verb to go with the subject “group” should be “gathers.”  A group gathers.

Easy, right?

The article is called “Toques From Underground” and focuses on a thirty-year-old chef in Los Angeles who cooks dinners you might or might not consider gourmet in his tiny apartment kitchen.  Supposedly, it’s the toughest reservation in town.  Based on the dishes this article highlighted, I think I am going to give it a miss.  Anyone hungry for salted oak leaves served with pine broth and matsutake mushrooms?  On the other hand, you can pay what you like when you leave.




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3 responses to “A Typo in The New Yorker!

  1. John Chatterton

    The Mar. 4, 2013 edition contains the word “predominately.” The New Yorker has taken a nosedive in quality.


  2. Stephen Scotch-Marmo

    Given that group is singular, shouldn’t this sentence end “he has handpicked and prepared for them”?


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