Collective noun (in English)

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In English linguistics, the term collective noun is used for nouns referring to a group of people that show variable agreement (singular or plural).


Nouns such as committee, family, team allow variable agreement:

  • The committtee has met and it has rejected the proposal./The committee have met and they have rejected the proposal.


  • Levin, Magnus. 1998. Manchester United are my team: on concord with collective nouns. Moderna Språk 92. 14-18.
  • Persson, Gunnar. 1989. On the semantics of colective nouns in English. In Bengt Odenstedt & Gunnar Persson (eds.) Instead of flowers: Papers in honour of Mats Rydén. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell, 179-188.