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# Collective nouns - singular or plural?

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Manager
Joined: 25 Nov 2011
Posts: 247

Kudos [?]: 238 [3], given: 20

Location: India
Concentration: Technology, General Management
GPA: 3.95
WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)
Collective nouns - singular or plural? [#permalink]

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28 Feb 2012, 22:23
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Hello friends,

I have come across the question: the-idea-behind-the-personal-long-letter-campaign-is-that-a-98990.html

In this topic, people were divided regarding the usage of the verb 'cause' or 'causes'. The OA is A which emphasized the verb should be related to singular noun and many people were in support of D which said the verb should be related to plural noun.

So, I thought of writing this post based on my reading of the article http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/plurals.htm

As per this article, collective nouns, when discussed as a group, are treated as singular otherwise as plural. Examples:

1.A) we're talking about eggs: "A dozen is probably not enough."
1.B) But if we're talking partying with our friends: "A dozen are coming over this afternoon."

2.A) The jury delivers its verdict.
2.B) The jury came in and took their seats.

3.A) The Tokyo String Quartet is one of the best string ensembles in the world
3.B) The Beatles were some of the most famous singers in history.

Note: Generally, band names and musical groups take singular or plural verbs depending on the form of their names:
4.A) "The Mamas and the Papas were one of the best groups of the 70s"
4.B) "Metallica is my favorite band."

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-Aravind Chembeti

Kudos [?]: 238 [3], given: 20

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Re: Collective nouns - singular or plural? [#permalink]

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18 May 2017, 13:47
Hi, I just want to add one comment that I found in the link you mentioned: "Numerical expressions are usually singular, but can be plural if the individuals within a numerical group are acting individually". That explain the use of the plural in your example.

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Re: Collective nouns - singular or plural?   [#permalink] 18 May 2017, 13:47
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