English grammar collective nouns combined with is & are.
English Grammar Made Easy: Collective nouns combined with is & are.
In this English grammar blog post I will try to explain when to use is and are in connection with collective nouns.
Look that these two sentences:
- The Government is meeting today.
- The Government are meeting today.
Which do you think is correct?
Did you choose sentence one? If you did, well done you are correct!
Did you choose sentence two? If you did, well done you are correct!
Let me explain, nouns that describe groups are called collective nouns.
Every Government is made up of a group of people, so it is a collective noun.
We have to choose if we describe the noun in the singular format, because it is one thing, or in the plural format because it is made up of a group of things, in the case people.
To be honest there are many rules that apply in this case, however most grammarians apply the so called “standard English” rule.
Standard English means the English used by the majority of native speakers, and in the case of collective nouns we have to look at both British English and American English.
British English speakers use collective nouns in the plural, while American English speakers use collective nouns in the singular.
British English speakers say:
«The Government are meeting today».
American English speakers say:
«The Government is meeting today».
Now that we have cleared that up, go and practice your new knowledge of both British and American English with native speakers when you exchange your native language on our language exchange website, Smart Language Solutions.
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Text: Tutor Feargal
Meme: Tutor Feargal
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Image: Big Ben on a summers day by Glen3095 via Flickr goo.gl/Yc6Zad (cropped & modified)
Image: Westminster by Henry Lawford via Flickr goo.gl/Cbj5Qq (cropped)