“Group” can be a complicated word. We use it in the singular form, but it represents a collective, a number of items (which is plural, right?).
After all, Is the word “Group” singular or plural? And what’s the correct way to use it? Let’s find out.
“Group” is singular. That’s why we should use singular forms to accompany it, like “a group”, “the group is”. Although the meaning of the word indicates multiple items or people together, “Group” represents one single unit, and should be treated as singular every time you’re creating a sentence.
Here are some examples:
- A group of kids is inside the restaurant.
- The kids are inside the restaurant.
- The group was walking too fast, and I was left behind.
- The men were walking too fast, and I was left behind.
In each set of sentences, you see two options: one where the word “Group” is used, and other where it isn’t. In the second sentence, although “the kids” represent a group, the word is not there. “The kids” is a plural form, and the verb in the sentence follows suit.
When you use “Group”, however, the kids are treated as a unit, and the verb should agree with it. Therefore, we say “a group is”. The same principle goes for the second set of sentences.
The word “Group” is a singular collective noun. Even though its subject matter is multiple objects or people, “Group” should always be addressed as a unit. Words with the same effect are, for example, class, club, team, etc.
Because “Group” is a collective unit, it’s considered a singular word and should be used and complemented as such.
Let’s see some examples of “group” in the singular form:
- The soccer group is a welcoming place for all who want to play.
- A tourist group is visiting the museum tomorrow.
- The group was being loud and obnoxious.
- There is a group of teenagers sitting outside the library.
- I saw a big group of dogs playing in the park.
We’ve all seen “Group” being used as a plural before. However, it’s an incorrect form. Every time the word “Group” is present, it should be addressed as singular, while plural forms should be avoided.
If you wish to describe a group in the plural form, the word “Group” should be left out of the sentence.
Those are some examples of the concept of “group” as plural in a sentence:
- These kids are incredibly smart.
- The old graduates are now very successful.
- My dogs are all of different breeds.
- The cats that live in the neighborhood are very sweet.
- Those students are the smartest of their class.
The plural verbs and pronouns are used in those sentences because, despite reflecting a collective, the individuals aren’t nominated as a “Group”.
“These kids are” could be addressed as “the group of kids is”, if the word “Group” was present. It’s not, though, and consequently, we treat those multiples in the plural form.
Do people say “Group is” or “Group are” more often? Let’s try to find the answer at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer below.
“Group is” is way more frequent than “Group are”. We believe it’s because the first is the correct form, while the latter is incorrect.
At the same time, we can see that the form “Group are” appears quite often. Even being an incorrect way to write, we understand that the idea of a singular noun representing a collective can be confusing. It’s understandable that people would make that mistake.
“Group of students” is a singular expression. As you know by now, the word “Group” is a singular collective noun, and when it’s present in your sentences should be treated in the singular form. Always avoid plurals when “Group” is in the sentence.
This is the correct form:
- A group of students is making noise outside of the hall.
This would be incorrect:
- A group of students are making noise outside of the hall.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.