English Collective Nouns
Collectives are nouns naming groups/things composed of members/elements (especially people). They may be common and proper, both as concrete/abstract. As concrete common nouns they denote object groups/pairs:
family, crew, jury, army, audience, board, cabinet, class, committee, company, corporation, council, department, faculty, firm, group, majority, minority, navy, public, school, senate, society, team, troupe
shorts, clothes, greens, savings, goods, dominoes, furniture, luggage, equipment, traffic
As abstract common nouns they denote feature/quality groupings:
tactics, politics, contents, looks
Concrete collective names:
the British Isles, the Azores
Abstract collective names:
the Renaissance, the Reformation
Collectives are single things made up of several. Units are composed of at least 2 elements.
Because people behave as both herd animals and solitary creatures, collective nouns can be singular/plural, depending on context. This double status often causes disagreement. People often behave collectively, doing things in unison with other group members. Sometimes all collective members do the same thing at the same time. With unanimous people collectives become singular requiring singular verbs and pronouns.
Today our class takes its first English exam.
Even plural sciences take singular agreement.
Maths is an exact discipline.
Collective members can behave separately. When members act as individuals, collective nouns are plural requiring plural verbs and pronouns.
After the qualification the class start their projects on American sports.
Britons as individualists traditionally use plural verbs. In fact, some sentences that are perfectly correct in Britain would be considered faulty in America.
Cambridge are winning the boat race.
Americans as team players treat collectives together.
The faculty is meeting after lunch.
To avoid collective disagreement, try their sentences in 2 ways:
1) by collective description
jury members, committee members, board members
2) by collective replacement
team → players, class → students, army → soldiers
Using plural verbs and pronouns here makes collective agreement sound natural.