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

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Group nouns 2

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

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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.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team