Statement about collective nouns in English

Mary Anne

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2017

2 replies

Statement about collective nouns in English

Collective nouns, such as family, team, and company are singular. The pronoun that would refer to these particular nouns is "it." A speaker may change to "they" but the speakers would be referring to family members, players, or employees. One would right, "A spokesperson for the company announced that it is profitable."

This question relates to:
French lesson "Nouns that are plural in English but singular in French, and vice versa"


Kwiziq community member

19 September 2017


Bonsoir Mary Anne, Here is a reply from Aurélie dated 6 May 2016 that may provide more insight: «When talking in a general context, French people would use the term la police rather than la gendarmerie, as such: La police va arrêter le criminel. ​Actually, as a French speaker, I find that la gendarmerie refers more to the station than the people. ​In this case, we would rather use les gendarmes when talking about them, so the following answer is also correct:​ ​Les gendarmes vont arrêter le criminel.» I do agree with your observation: «my family, yes, they are well. . » My guess is that you are from the US based on your choice of pronouns in these examples. I am unaware of how other English speaking countries speak using pronouns in discussing these subjects. A very good point.

Mary Anne

Kwiziq community member

20 September 2017


Yes. I am from the US. Interesting. I think we would say, "The family is good. The complement of a verb of "being" is a predicate adjective. "The food is good; the movie was good."

Your answer

Login to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Think you've got all the answers?

Test your French to the CEFR standard

find your French level »
Let me take a look at that...