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 gatheredOther 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)|