Collective Nouns used both as Singular and Plural

While collective nouns, which refer to groups of people, animals or things are usually singular, some of them can be used in the singular or plural. If the writer wants to focus on the group, then he will use the singular form. But if he wants to focus on the members of the group, he will use the plural forum.

The jury were unable to reach a verdict.

In the above, the author by using the plural verb were, is focusing on the individual members of the jury. If he wished to focus on the jury as a group, he would say,

The Jury locks itself up for the duration of the trial, to avoid being influenced by television coverage of the criminal proceedings.

Likewise the other collective nouns such as government, teams, people, audience can be used with singular or plural verbs depending on whether you want to focus on the members of the group or the group itself.

A list of nouns that can be singular or plural depending on the context. This usually happens when the collective noun refers to a group consisting of individual members.

audience

crew

public

committee

enemy

team

company

government

class

family

bunch

group

pack

In British English the collective nouns can be singular or plural. However in American English, they are always singular except in peculiar circumstances.

In the SAT, the above list of words are always singular unless the context forces the reader to look at the individual members, in which case they are plural.

 

Pronouns that are always singular

The following pronouns are always singular.

anyone, everyone, someone, no one, nobody

No one knows that I have the key to the riddle of the cosmos.

Everyone loves to be in the shoes of Michael Jackson

Nobody knows anything about plane crash

Anyone has heard of the horse that bolted from the

Someone is going to be punished for this terrible accident.

 

 

Pronoun – Verb Agreement – 2 – Indefinite Pronouns

The following pronouns are called as indefinite pronouns as they don’t point to anybody or anything in particular.

anyone, everyone, someone, no one, anybody, everybody, somebody, nobody, anything, everything, something, nothing.

any, one, none, some, several, all, few, fewer, many, less, little, more, much,most

each, other, another.

either, neither

Of these some of them are always singular, others are always plural, some are both singular and plural. The usage and context will decide whether they will singular or plural.

The following pronouns are always singular.

No one knows that I have the key to the riddle of the cosmos.

Nothing is known about the lions which went missing from the zoo.

Everybody looks to Messi as their football guru.

Everyone loves to be in the shoes of Michael Jackson

Nobody knows anything about plane crash

Anything goes with a cup of well-brewed coffee

Anybody has the key to the lock?

Something is seriously wrong with the conductor of the orchestra.

Someone is going to be punished for this terrible accident.

Somebody is going to tell me where to find the cakes hidden in the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

Subject – Verb Agreement – 6

Some plural nouns refer to singular things but are made of many parts. Use a plural verb to go with them.

The scissors are good.

The sunglasses look fashionable on you.

The trousers fit him perfectly.

Those pants were a bargain.

However, when you talk of “a pair of scissors” or a “pair of sunglasses”, use the singular verb.

A pair of scissors is a good addition to a tailor’s kit.

A pair of sunglasses lies on the table.

Other such examples are:  trousers, glasses, pliers, tongs, tweezers, binoculars, sunglasses, headphones, jeans, pyjamas, shorts, knickers.

Generally any tool, instrument or article of clothing which have two parts.