We use a pair noun for a thing made of two parts which are the same. Some pair nouns are binoculars, glasses, jeans, pants, pyjamas, scissors, shorts, tights, trousers.
A pair noun is plural and takes a plural verb. My jeans need washing, not my-jean
These tights were quite expensive, not this-tight jeans scissors glasses binoculars
We've got some scissors somewhere, not a-scissor?
We cannot use a/an or a number with a pair noun. But we can use pair of. I need some jeans, or I need a pair of jeans, not a jean Laura bought four pairs of tights, not four-tights
B Group nouns
A group noun can usually take either a singular or a plural verb.
The team was playing well, or The team were playing well.
The government is in crisis, or The government are in crisis.
The choice depends on whether we see the group as a whole or as individual people. Often it doesn't matter whether the verb is singular or plural. But sometimes one form is better than the other.
The family is a very old and famous one. The family are delighted with their presents.
The orchestra consists of eighty-six musicians. The orchestra don't know what to play.
When we mean the group as a whole, we use a When we mean the individual people in the
singular verb. group, we normally use the plural.
We use it and its. We use they, them and their.
The committee has made its decision. The class will miss their lessons because they
are all going on a trip.
Some group nouns: army, audience, band, board, choir, class, club, committee, community, company, council, crew, crowd, family, government, group, management, orchestra, population, press (= newspapers), public, staff, team, union Also: Harrods, the BBC, the United Nations, etc and England (the England team), Manchester United
C Police, people and cattle
These nouns have a plural meaning and take a plural verb. The police have warned motorists to take extra care. People don't know what the future will bring. The cattle are going to be sold with the farm.
page 379 Group nouns in American English
1 Pair nouns (A)
Trevor and Laura are shopping for clothes. Choose the correct form.
Trevor: These trousers (►)is/are a bit tight. They (1) doesn't/don't feel very comfortable. And I think the
blue ones (2) goes/go better with the jacket. Laura: That jacket (3) is/are too long.
Trevor: Well, the jeans (4) fits/fit all right. Perhaps I'll buy the jeans instead. Laura: Yes, the jeans (5) looks/look good on you. I like the style. I think they (6) suits/suit you. Now you
get changed while I look for (7) a/some shorts. And I might get (8) a/some skirt.
2 Pair nouns (A)
Complete what Rachel says to Vicky. Put one word in each space.
This old suitcase was in the corridor. I don't know who left it here. It's been here for about three days, so I'm having a look inside. There's a pair (►)of pyjamas, (1) .. jeans, two
(2) of tight sanda (3) . of
sunglasses. There are (4) red shorts, too.
3 Group nouns (B)
Complete this TV news report. Choose the correct form of the verb.
Zedco (►)have/has just announced that it made a loss of £35 million last year. The management (1) is/are well aware that they have made mistakes. The press (2) have/has all been printing stories and articles critical of the company. The Zedco board (3) knows/know that they now have some difficult decisions to take. Naturally, the staff (4) is/are worried about their jobs and (5) wants/want a meeting with management as soon as possible. But Chief Executive Barry Douglas says things aren't really so bad. He has said that the company still (6) has/have a great future ahead of it.
4 Group nouns (B-C)
Put in a group noun and is or are. Use these nouns:
cattle, choir, crew, crowd, orchestra, police, population, team
► The crowd are all enjoying the game.
1 This United ................................................... the best one Tom has ever seen.
2 The hoping they can take part in a national singing contest.
3 The ship's............................................... all very tired after a long sea voyage.
4 The . one of the biggest that has played at one of our concerts.
5 The . installing cameras to photograph speeding motorists.
6 At the moment beef .. ......................... cheap because sales of beef are low.
7 The country's ................................................ growing rapidly because of immigration.