Friday, June 21, 2013


The use of a plural verb here (Daily Telegraph, 14 March 2013) may look like a mistake to readers unfamiliar with British English (BrE).

In BrE, collective nouns such as team, family and committee are often treated as plural when the emphasis is on their members acting as individuals rather than on the collective as a single unit, hence:

This year’s team are especially strong.
The family next door are always shouting at each other.
The new commitee are the friendliest I’ve ever worked with.

The use of the plural is sentences such as My bank are very reliable, and in the example above from the Daily Telegraph, would not be unusual in BrE, but this would probably be more colloquial and informal.


sabrina tasnim said...

great post.i can understand the use of plural verb in sentence.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ludwig

I have a question that is unrelated to the post.

Is there an error in the following sentence 'It is the mother of all wins'? The sentence is used in the context of the topic of winning and losing.

Please help to clarify. Thanks!

My email is


Ludwig Tan said...

Thanks, Sabrina and Alicia!

No, there's nothing wrong with "It is the mother of all wins" -- it is grammatically perfect, in fact.

Saroja S said...

Great work sir..

Awkward Words said...

As an American English speaker, that jumps out at me as an error.

Ludwig Tan said...

Thank you, Saroja.

Yes, Awkward Words -- most Singaporeans would find it strange too as we use singular agreement in these cases (as with American English).