Language & Styleguide: Singular and Plural Nouns

Language & Styleguide:
Singular and Plural Nouns

Collective nouns like team, staff, faculty, group, take a singular verb

Example: The team is ready to win. But, team members have not arrived.

Example: The faculty is in negotiation. But, faculty members are ready to strike.

Example: The staff is reporting to work at 8 am. But some members of staff are ill.

A collective noun takes a singular verb if it is seen as a unit, a plural verb if thought of more as a collection of individuals.

Example: The audience was silent. But, the audience were stamping their feet.

Example: Her family is sending money. But, her family are all ill.

This applies to names of teams or performing groups.

Example: The Clash is playing its greatest hits. Not: The Clash are playing their greatest hits.

Example: The Thunderwolves hockey team is competing against McGill tonight.

When two parts of a compound subject are separated by with, together with, including, besides, in addition to, plus, as well as, the verb agrees with the first part.

Example: Mike Jones, together with his family, is visiting the museum.

Anybody, anyone, another, anything, each, either, every, everybody, everyone, many a, neither, no one, nobody, somebody, and someone take a singular verb.