Singular or plural?
This page reminds students to check their singular and plural forms
A lot of good writing is spoilt because students do not know whether the subject of a sentence is plural or singular and so they make a mistake with the verb. This is quite understandable – it is not easy. For example:
The team has been picked and is ready for the match.
In this sentence the subject of the sentence – team – is a collective noun and although it is made up of several members they are acting as one unit. There is only one team. The subject is singular, so the verbs has been and is are singular verbs which agree with the subject.
However, look at this sentence:
Every day after practice the team has a shower and goes home.
If you think this sentence looks very strange you are right! In this sentence the team do these things individually, so the correct grammar would be:
Every day after practice the team have a shower and go home.
This means that some words are singular sometimes, and plural at other times, depending on the context. Which is why English can be such a hard language!
Here is a handy page from the Grammar Bytes website which talks about collective nouns, and another one from BBC Learning English.
When you’ve read those explanations try out this exercise on singular or plurals fromBetter English. Some collective nouns are always singular or plural even though they look like they shouldn’t be. In this case, keep your hair on, and just learn it!