Collective nouns

singular collective nouns (act collectively as a unit, in unison)

(clues: a/an, each, every, this, that, its, etc)

plural collective nouns (act differently, as individuals)

(clues: they, their)

Every afternoon the baseball team follows its coach out to the hot field for practice.

After the three-hour practice under the brutal sun, the team shower, change into their street clothes, and head to their air-conditioned homes.

Today, Dr. Ribley's class takes its first 100-item exam.

After the long exam, the class start their research papers on famous mathematicians.

The jury agrees that the state prosecutors did not provide enough evidence, so its verdict is not guilty.

The jury disagree about the guilt of the accused and have told the judge that they are hopelessly deadlocked.

The class is working on itsproject for the school science fair.

The choir were measured for their new robes.

The government is by no means environmentally perfect: it has invested only £37m in renewable energy sources this year.

The team have their mothers wash their uniforms after each game.

The committee agrees that people are misusing their cell phones, so its verdict is that phones must not be used during working hours.

The tour group are arguing among themselves about where to eat dinner.

More examples of collective nouns:

army, council, minority, audience, department, navy, board, faculty, public, cabinet, family, school, class , firm, senate, committee, group, society, company, jury, team, corporation, majority, troupe, etc.

Decide on either plural or singular form of collective nouns.

1. Naturally the family was/were much disturbed, and left the room.

2. The army are/is about to launch a major offensive.

3. The city council has/have voted almost unanimously in favour of a new plant.

4. The permanent council of the Organization of American States meet/meets today here in Washington.

5.A paramedic ambulance crew went to the accident scene but were/was unable to save Mrs Wilson.

6.This crew of killers and life-wreckers are/is headed by the mad but cunning Nino Brown.

7. The audience for broadcast entertainment has/have already far outstripped in size any other audience in the world.

8. The entire audience have broken/has broken into loud applause..

9. The National Heritage Committee has/ have conducted a public inquiry to find the answer..

10.The Senate are/ is in session.

11.The couple has /have quickly become a fixture of society pages.

12.The jury has/have returned unanimous guilty verdicts.

13.The jury is /are still out on what kind of solutions we might undertake.

14.The team has/have failed to qualify for the finals.

15. Every morning, the herd follows/follow its leader to the watering hole for a drink.

16. Today, Ms. Kennedy's class take/takes its SOL test.

17. The committee agrees/agree that people are misusing their cell phones, so its verdict is that phones must not be used during working hours.

18. After eight hours sitting in the stuffy courtroom, the jury stretch/stretches, look at their watches, and head to their cars for the commute home.

19. After taking a test, the class starts/start their papers on Shakespeare's sonnets.

20. The class write/writes essays about the environment.

21. The class is /are discussingtoday its summer vacation.

22. The whole class meet/meets today in the assembly hall for a concert.

23. The family take/takes a trip abroad.

23. The chess club work/works out their strategy so as to win the tournament.

24. The swarm of journalists are/is taking photos.

25. A swarm of people have/has encircled the hotel.

26.The entire audience has/have broken into loud applause…

27.The audience was/were invited to stop behind to discuss the play with its author.

28. The orchestra are/is in their sections ready to start.

29. The orchestra perform/performs my favourite music.

30. The football team is/are practicing intensely for the finals.

31. The public support/supports the opening of the new library.

32. The crowdmoves/move to their favourite places along the parade route.

33. The troupe are/is practising their parts before a performance.

34. The team are playing/is playing at the city stadium.

35. The team is/are in Milan this weekend.

36. The committee are/is divided on this issue.

37. The class is/are the bright one.

38. The class is/are mixed a lot.

39. Her family are/is living in various parts of Europe.

40. The pack of dogs is/are running in different directions.

Answers for most difficult cases:

5, 6, 24, 25, 36, 38, 40 are plural subjects.

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