Is it correct to say "The development team are seeing a new trend", when you're certain that the team consists of several members? Or, is the word team strictly singular in any context?

  • See this post : english.stackexchange.com/questions/39838/…
    – Eilia
    Aug 14, 2015 at 7:58
  • @Janus Your comment on the now deleted answer "['Grammatical agreement'] is utterly incorrect" is rather strong. 'The development team is seeing a new trend ...' would be quite acceptable to many people, especially in the US. I'd certainly (almost) always choose notional agreement (not with 'more than one person was present'), but that doesn't make the other choice ungrammatical. Though "You should [use 'grammatical agreement']" is unacceptable. Aug 14, 2015 at 9:49
  • @EdwinAshworth My comment was that the answer (which said something like “Team is singular, so you must use is”) was utterly incorrect, not that grammatical agreement is incorrect (certainly it isn't—in this case, I'd probably choose grammatical agreement over notional myself). As you say, the “you should use” bit, rather than the grammatical-agreement construction. Aug 14, 2015 at 12:42
  • It depends on whose team you're on.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 14, 2015 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


According to a variety of references, you may use is and are depending on the context. Here is an excerpt from Grammar Girl's appropriately named Quick & Dirty Tips:

Let’s use the collective noun “couple” as an example. When you are thinking of the couple as two separate people doing separate things, you would probably use a plural verb. For example, you would say, "The couple are vacationing separately this year," because they are two different people doing two different things. On the other hand, if you're thinking of the couple as a single unit, you would probably use a singular verb. For example, you would say, "Each couple is going to Bermuda on a different day." You just have to use your best judgment, and even though this seems tricky, the good news is that you can never really get it wrong because 1) there is no real rule, and 2) you can always just assert that you were thinking of the couple as individuals (or a unit) if someone questions your verb choice (2).


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