Third person singular/ plural for a collective?

English grammar questions, answered by Alan

Moderator: Alan

Locked
User avatar
Joshuab
New Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:28 am
Status: English Teacher

Third person singular/ plural for a collective?

Post by Joshuab » Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:32 am

Hi,

Merry Christmas!

Some examples: 'Homo Sapiens', 'Smith's' or 'Audience'. Are these singular, because they refer to a single group, or plural because there is more than one member?

I understand audience might be an exception, as an audience could be one person.

User avatar
Alan
EC Teacher
EC Teacher
Posts: 12959
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 7:56 pm
Status: English Teacher
Location: Japan

Re: Third person singular/ plural for a collective?

Post by Alan » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:37 am

Homo Sapiens IS... (a species, singular)
The Smiths ARE... (= the Smith family members, plural)
AmE: The Audience IS.../ BrE: ...ARE or IS (a collective noun: BrE tends to allow either singular or plural)

Locked