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English Lesson 2 : Subjects with Collective Nouns – Singular or Plural Verb?

Does a singular collective noun take a singular or plural verb? It depends.

Rule: Use a singular verb for a collective noun if the noun is acting as one unit. If the members of the collective noun do not agree or are acting differently from each other, use a plural verb.

First things first, what is a Collective Noun? A collective noun is a word for a group of specific items, animals or people.

Here are some examples of collective nouns:

armada     company    clan    caravan
school    thicket    den    flock
nest    sounder    platoon    sloth
swarm    yoke    lodge    committee
class    jury    audience    army
council    family    group    team

Here are some examples on how the rule works:

  • The flute ensemble are tuning their instruments.
  • The flute ensemble is playing at the Kiwanis Music Festival.
  • The pack of dogs were running off in different directions.
  • The pack of dogs is chasing after that poor deer.
  • The townsfolk cheers the hometown little league.
  • The troop disappear in different directions.
  • Every afternoon, the baseball team goes out to the field for practice.
  • The jury disagree about the guilt of the accused and are at lost for a final decision.

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