Verbs with collective nouns

Collective nouns

A collective noun denotes a collection. Examples are: class, regiment, team, family, bunch, band, crowd etc.

Collective nouns can be followed by either a singular or a plural verb, depending upon whether you consider the collection as one unit or as composed of several individual members.

Study the examples given below.

  • My family lives in Mumbai. (Here I use the singular verb because I am thinking of my family as one unit.)
  • My family live in various parts of Maharashtra. (Here the plural verb indicates that I consider the family as composed several individuals).
  • The senior class is graduating in June.
  • The senior class are very bright. (Here the reference is to the individual members of the class.)

It doesn’t matter whether you use singular or plural verbs with collective nouns. They are both possible, because it is how you feel. If you use the plural verb, you are just implying that you consider the group as composed of individual members.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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