Go singular with collective nouns

Is an organization singular or plural? While an organization seems to be one entity, it often consists of a number of people and departments, suggesting that “plural” is the right answer.

An organization – as with businesses and schools – is singular, however. These collective nouns are a name given to a lone thing that merely consists of many important parts.

This means any pronoun referring to that group must be singular. For example, you would write, The Northeastern Association of Rolling Pin Lovers will hold its conference in Albany. The singular pronoun its refers to an organization, the The Northeastern Association of Rolling Pin Lovers. Plural pronouns, such as their, them or them, would be incorrect.

It also means that any verb used with an organization should be singular rather than plural. Thus, The Falcons football team is ranked No. 1 is correct as the football team – an organization – is singular and so is the verb is. Don’t use verbs that go with plural words, such as are, when using a collective noun.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.