Collective Nouns Singular or Plural?


Collective Nouns, Common Used Collective Nouns for Persons, Animals and Things,Subject Verb Agreement with Collective Nouns etc… Please follow the list for detailed expressions, lists and examples;






What is Collective Noun?

Collective noun is a noun which describes a group of things oe people. It means collective noun is a single noun that is made up of  more than one thing or person or etc. For example: family, group, herd, team.

Subject -Verb Agreement

Whether a Collective Noun is used with Singular or Plural Verb?

In Amercan English;

Many collective nouns are treated as singular so they are used with singular verbs.

Examples:

  •   My family comes from Swedish.
  •   Our team has worked severeal weeks on this project.
  •   The staff of the company was working very hard.
  •   The new family has moved into this flat.

In British English;

Many collective nouns are treated both as singular and plural so they can used both with singular and plural verbs.

Examples:

  •   My family come from Swedish.
  •   Our team have worked severeal weeks on this project.
  •   The staff of the company were working very hard.
  •   The new family have moved into this flat.

However,

some collective nouns are always singular or plural in both American and British English.

always singular collective nouns ( we use singlular verb )

  • everyone
  • everybody
  • no one
  • no body

Examples:

  •   Everyone has their own ideas about the best way to bring up children.
  •   No one is making a sound.

always plural collective noun ( we use plural verb )

  • police
  • people

Examples:

  •   The police have found Sarah’s bicycle.
  •   People like to be made to feel important..





Generally, we can say that collective nouns can be singular or plural. It depends on the context of the sentence.

  • If the members of a group act together as a unit or a whole, we use a singular verb.

( we can also say that if we or speakers want to emphasize the group as a whole, we use singular verb in this situation.)

Examples:

  •   The band of musicians was playing.
  •   The brazilian team is playing very well.
  •   The staff of the company was working very hard.
  •   The new family has moved into this flat.
  • If the members of a group stop acting together as a unit or a whole and act as individuals, it is better to use a plural verb.
  • ( we can also say that if we or speakers want to emphasize the individuals in a group rather than regarding the group as a whole, we use plural verb in this situation)

    Examples:

    •   The flock are running in all different direction.
    •   The committee were divided in their opinion.
    •   The class are studying on different projects.
    •   The family were each doing different jobs.

    Note 1:

    If you are not sure whether to use a singular or a plural verb with a collective noun in ypur writing or speaking,  you can put “members of” before the collective noun and then use a plural verb.

    Examples:

    •   All the members of the family are thinking alike.
    •   The members of the jury were lefting the court with a police escort.

    Note 2:

    If we use a collective noun as a singular noun, we can not treat the noun as a plural in the same sentence and vice versa. It means we can not use or consider a collective noun both as singular and plural in the same sentence.

    Examples:

    •   The band are doing the last gig of their world-tour. ( not its )
    •   The group is happy with its performance. ( not their )
    •   The committee were divided in their opinion regarding this issue. ( not its )

    Note 3:

    • If the collective noun “number” is used with “a”,  we use plural verb.
    • ıf the collective noun “number” is with “the”, we use singular verb.
    Examples:

    •   A number of children are educated at home.
    •   The number of workers is increased in the company.

    Note 4:

    When the collective nouns couple and pair refer to people, we use plural verb.

    Examples:

    •   A couple of people have objected to the proposal.
    •   A pair of students are lifting a heavy trunk. 

    You can see detailed collective noun list used for persons, animals and things below;

    For Persons;

    For Animals;

    For Things;

    2 thoughts on “Collective Nouns Singular or Plural?

    • January 28, 2018 at 2:22 am
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      Very clear and useful.

      Reply
    • February 1, 2018 at 12:21 pm
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      Reply

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