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Section 6.8.1.4

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns refer to groups, such ascommittee (group of people), flock, (group of birds) orherd (group of animals). If the subjectof your sentence is a collective noun, you need to pay special attention to subject-verb agreement. Use a singular verb when the collective noun represents the individualsacting as a unit.


Unacceptable

An interagency science committee have been issuingtechnical recommendations about everything from computer modeling to remotesensing in the Everglades.

Acceptable

An interagency science committee has been issuingtechnical recommendations about everything from computer modeling to remotesensing in the Everglades.

--Norman Boucher, "Back to the Everglades," Technological Review (modified)


Use a plural verb when the sentence emphasizes that the individuals are actingseparately.


Unacceptable

The team congratulates each other whenever they win acompetition.

Acceptable

The team congratulate each other whenever they win acompetition.


The best solution is to emphasize that you are focusing on individual members ofa collective noun by adding the word members:


The team members congratulate each other whenever theywin a competition.



## Collective Nouns ##


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