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Would you say "The Calvary wasn't coming" or "The Calvary weren't coming"?

marked as duplicate by Jason Bassford, tchrist Apr 12 at 5:55

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  • Erm..."calvary" is the hill where Christ died. I think you mean cavalry. – Cascabel Apr 12 at 15:23
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The word is cavalry, from the word "cavalier" meaning a horse riding soldier. The whole is a derivation from the French word for horse - "cheval".

The cavalry would usually be treated as a singular entity when being referred to en masse. In that case, one would use a singular verb, eg. he wasn't coming.

So, I would suggest you used the former - "The Cavalry wasn't coming".

This is discussed in rather verbose fashion here: Are collective nouns always plural, or are certain ones singular?

  • The summary is this: collective nouns are treated with singular verb agreement in American English, and plural verb agreement in British English. So "the cavalry is coming" in American, "the cavalry are coming" in British English. – Marcel Besixdouze Apr 12 at 4:45
  • @Marcel Besixdouze. I am an English person, Marcel, and I can tell you that the rule you quote is somewhat misinformed. I would say "The cavalry is coming", it is how I was brought up, and to my mind is correct grammar. If referring to the a group of members of the cavalry doing something, I would probably use the plural, although for the members of the cavalry I would probably say cavalrymen, so the plural would automatically follow. Please see the verbose discussion on this site linked in my answer. – Dick_Knipple Apr 12 at 23:37
  • I'm not suggesting that no English person has been influenced by American usage. – Marcel Besixdouze Apr 15 at 19:20

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