Group nouns

Level: intermediate

Some nouns refer to groups of people, animals or things:

army audience committee company
crew enemy family  flock
gang government group herd
public regiment staff team

We can use these group nouns either as singular nouns or as plural nouns:

My family is very dear to me.
I have a large family. They are very dear to me.
= The members of my family …

The government is very unpopular.
The government are always changing their minds.

Sometimes we think of the group as a single thing:

The audience always enjoys the show.
The group consists of two men and three women.

Sometimes we think of the group as several individuals:

The audience clapped their hands.
The largest group are the boys.

The names of many organisations and teams are also group nouns, but they are usually plural in spoken English:

Barcelona are winning 2–0.
The United Oil Company are putting prices up by 12 per cent.

and the police is always plural:

The police are offering a £5,000 reward.

Group nouns 1


Group nouns 2



Average: 3.3 (27 votes)

Submitted by Soffia on Fri, 05/01/2024 - 07:08


Can we say like 'The largest group is the boys'

Hi Soffia,

Yes, we can! There is some flexibility of singular and plural verb use with group nouns.


LearnEnglish team