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Is there a word for a noun that is singular but can be used like it is plural?

For example...

Q: How is your team doing?

A: They are doing great.


Manchester United are at the top of the league table.


Liverpool have won a lot of games this season.

"Team" and "Manchester United" are both singular but they are regularly referred to like a plural.

I have no idea why I fixated so much on Football based examples... I don't even like football.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Mari-Lou A, JJJ, TrevorD, Neeku Apr 10 at 15:52

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Sounds like you're talking about collective nouns. Here's a handy guide I pulled from the Canadian Government's Translation Bureau:

Singular and plural verbs with collective nouns -A plural collective noun takes a plural verb: Families enjoy this restaurant.

-A singular collective noun usually takes a singular verb: Our family enjoys this restaurant.

-But there are some cases where a singular collective noun actually expresses a plural idea and needs a plural verb. The guidelines below will help you decide whether a singular collective noun takes a singular or plural verb.

When to use a singular verb -When all the members of a collective noun are performing an action as a unit (and that’s usually the case), use a singular verb.

-The chamber orchestra often plays at the Art Centre. The cast is celebrating the success of the play with a party after the performance.

-A wolf pack hunts as a group.

-The fleet was anchored in the channel.

When to use a plural verb When the members of a collective noun are performing an action as individuals, use a plural verb. In this case, all or some members of the group are doing something independently of the other members; the group is not acting together as a unit.

-The orchestra are tuning their instruments.

-The cast have been practising their lines.

-The flock were running off in every direction.

-The staff disagree on the proposal.

In many cases, it may sound more natural to make the subject plural in form by adding a word like members:

-The members of the orchestra are tuning their instruments.

-The cast members have been practising their lines.

-The staff members disagree on the proposal.

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