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collective predicate

SEMANTICS: a predicate that applies to a plurality of things as a whole and not to each of the individual members. EXAMPLE: the contrast in (i) shows that gather is a collective predicate because it can only be used as a predicate with a subject that refers to a plurality.

(i) a * John/A boy/Every boy gathered
    b   The boys/John and Mary/The club gathered
Other predicates, such as buy a house or carry the piano upstairs can be used as collective predicates but also as distributive predicates. John and Mary bought a house is therefore ambiguous between a collective reading (they bought the house together) and a distributive reading (they each bought a house).
LIT. Link, G. (1983)