Collective Nouns


What is the right sentence: The entire class has received the book or The entire class have received the book?

You may use both plural and singular verbs with words that refer to a group or its members, for example, a family. (a family is made up of its members: mother, father, children, grandparents etc.)
When you think of a family as one single unit, use singular verbs:

  • My family is from Italy.
  • An average family has two children in my country.

When you think of a family as a collection of individuals, use plural verbs:

  • My family have decided to move back to Italy. (Everybody has taken part in this decision.)
  • My family are wonderful. (Each and every person in my family is wonderful.)

CLASS is also a group of people, so it may be followed by both singular and plural verbs:

  • The class was dismissed. (Think of class as a unit.)
  • The class have a test tomorrow. (Think of every student.)

Your example ‘the entire class has/have received the book’ sounds strange, because it is about one specific book. I think what you mean is:

  • The entire class have received books. (Every student got a book.)

Some similar words are: team, firm, club, orchestra, government, jury, choir, staff

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