A noun that names a group of people or things, such as team or army, is called a collective noun. Collective nouns may be used as either singular nouns or plural nouns.
- The crowd cheers at the sight of the senatorial candidate. (Though the noun 'crowd' suggests more than just 1 person, it is actually telling of a unit or a group. Therefore we use the singular form of the verb 'cheer').
- The family is going to the game at the park. (Though the noun 'family' suggests more than just 1 person, it is actually telling of a unit or a group. Therefore we use 'is').
- The family are arguing about the place to go for vacation. (Though the noun 'family' suggests a one unit, we notice that the sentence is referring to the individual members of the family as being presented by the verb 'arguing'; meaning each member of the family has his or her own opinion. Therefore, we use 'are').
- The crowd are getting into their cars and taking off in all directions. (Though the noun 'crowd' suggests a one unit, we notice that the sentence is referring to the individual persons in the crowd as being presented by the prepositional phrase 'in all directions''; meaning each car made different directions. Therefore, we use 'are').
Here are more examples collective nouns:
Choose the appropriate verb for the following sentences:
1.) The whole family (is, are) watching the movie tonight.
2.) The class (was, were) working on their individual assignments.
3.) The crew (was, were) playing cards or sleeping before the incident occurred.
4.) The audience (was, were) murmuring to each other about the program.
5.) The yearbook staff (is, are) composed almost entirely of journalism students.
6.) The crowd outside (is, are) kept in order by policemen.
~end of lesson~