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Should I use a singular or a plural verb with a collective noun?

collective noun refers to a whole group as a single entity but also to the members of that group.

collective noun names a group of individuals or things with a singular form. Examples of collective nouns are: faculty, herd, team. There are collective nouns for people, animals, objects, and concepts. The use of a singular or plural verb depends on the context of the sentence. If one is referring to the whole group as a single entity, then the singular verb is best: The school board has called a special session. When a group noun is used with a singular determiner (e.g., a/an, each, every, this, that), singular verbs and pronouns are normal: The team is away this weekend; they have a good chance of winning. There are other contexts where the plural verb is more natural: My family are always fighting among themselves. When the individuals in the collection or group receive the emphasis, the plural verb is acceptable. Generally, however, in American English, collective nouns take singular verbs. In British English, collective nouns are more often treated as plurals that take plural verbs.

7 Comments

  1. ryshab -  September 2, 2016 - 11:43 pm

    Class are divided in their opinion. Is this sentence correct?

    Reply
  2. seema -  June 8, 2016 - 2:10 am

    Here,
    Our team will win today, won’t “they”?
    They will come because ‘win’ is plural nown and team is plurl collective nown. Imagine replacing “team” with “players”, you will get an idea.

    Reply
    • ryan -  June 10, 2016 - 9:56 am

      He will win.
      She will win.
      It will win.
      One will win.
      We will win.
      They will win.
      You will win.
      Our team will win.
      Our players will win.

      This is just a poor example because of future tense usage results in the same conjugation. There is no “will wins”.

      Our team wins.
      Our team win. (Sounds funny to me.)
      It wins.
      They win.

      Reply
    • Pallavi -  August 16, 2016 - 2:41 am

      “win” is singular, not plural.

      Reply
    • Prasad -  September 2, 2016 - 2:24 am

      team is generally treated as a singular noun as it is a collective noun. Our team will win today. will is an auxiliary verb and win is the main verb. Not a noun. Please learn more about subject, verb and object of a sentence.

      Reply
  3. T.Vishwarni -  March 19, 2016 - 11:50 pm

    Our team will win today, won’t they or won’t it?

    Reply
    • Palden Tamang -  June 10, 2016 - 10:25 pm

      LOL

      “Team will win” is absolutely a funny example; I think Seema is from Bihar India

      Our Team will win today. Won’t it ?

      Won’t it is a correct Tag Question

      Reply

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