Collective Nouns

A word that stands for a group of things is called a collective noun. In fact, the word group itself is a collective noun. Here are a few others: family, club, team, committee, staff, furniture, jury, Congress, audience, herd.

Usually these nouns are treated as singular because the emphasis is on the action of the entire unit rather than its individual parts.

The team is going on the bus.

The committee wants to find a solution to the problem.

But when you want to emphasize the individual parts of a group, you may treat a collective noun as plural.

The team have argued about going on the bus.

The committee want different solutions to the problem.

If the plural sounds awkward, try rewording.

The team members have argued about going on the bus.

The committee members want different solutions to the problem.