English Teacher Article Collective nouns

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Apart from collective nouns like police and cattle that always take a plural verb, there are different approaches taken in different countries where English is spoken. In American English, the general tendency is to use the singular. Indeed, some American speakers regard the plural as incorrect. In British English, the plural is much more widespread, though when the collective noun is seen as a single thing and not a collection of individuals, then the singular is preferred, so British speakers might say that a company is being sold, but may use the plural when thinking about the company's operations. The BBC states its policy is to use the plural when talking about a team, etc. In Australian English, the singular is becoming more common than the plural, but both are used.

On the site, we don't impose a policy and leave contributors to use whichever form they prefer. In an increasingly globalised world, it makes sense to me to expose learners to both forms. However, as the majority of the site is British English, the plural is more common than the singular, though this is a reflection of the make-up of contributors and not of a preference.

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