What Happens To My Family?


Collective nouns are words that describe groups of people or things, e.g. “family” or “team”. Grammatically they are singular, but as they describe more than one individual, they may also take the plural form of a verb or use a plural pronoun.

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For example, bởi we say “The family is arriving tomorrow” or “The family are arriving tomorrow”?

Is a family “it” or “they”?

The answer depends on whether you’re using British or American English, & on the emphasis you wish to lớn make.

Very generally, in British English collective sầu nouns are commonly treated as plurals, e.g. The government are debating the tax proposal. While in American English they take the singular verb khung, e.g. The government is debating the tax proposal.

Usage of singular or plural also depends on whether you are emphasising the individuals in the group or the group as a single entity.

The below examples emphasise the individual members of the collective nouns rather than the collection as a single entity:

The management board were unable khổng lồ agree with each other.The team were walking through the gate in ones và twos.The audience haven’t all arrived yet.Not all the staff are happy about the new arrangements.

These examples emphasise the collective noun as a single entity:

The management board gave its consent.

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The team was playing like a well-oiled machine.The audience is ready for the concert to begin.The staff accepts the new arrangements.

Other comtháng collective sầu nouns:



Police – always takes the plural: “Police are…” Always refer lớn the police as “they”.

Number – when using the phrase “a number of” lớn mean “several” – use the plural.E.g. A number of options were presented. A number of students have fallen ill.

When using the phrase “the number” khổng lồ mean “the amount” – use the singular.E.g. The number of protestors was astonishing.

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The huge number of people arriving at the sự kiện has taken the organisers by complete surprise.