Ben’s Grammar Tip of the Week

Singular nouns used as plural


This is confusing in English and can cause some problems for students.


Some singular nouns can be used with either a singular or plural verb. The commonest of these are the collective nouns which represent a collection of people or things.

Such as :

  • audience
  • committee
  • crew
  • family
  • government
  • group


So for example both of these sentences are correct:


  •  The government is doing a good job.
  • The government are doing a good job.



EXCEPTION: police and people: both of them must always be used with a plural verb:

  • The police do a good job.= CORRECT




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