Often I hear things like ' The crowd were noisy', which I feel is wrong - a crowd is a singular entity. What about 'The Commonwealth games is /are starting soon'?

  • Is this British English, or what? Please add the appropriate tag. Mar 13, 2017 at 8:13
  • British English for this question!
    – Tim
    Mar 13, 2017 at 8:25

1 Answer 1


The crowd were noisy

The crowd was noisy

Both are fine. This is just an issue of dialectal. In British English, a collective noun is often treated as a plural entity. But in American English, it's singular.

The Commonwealth games is/are starting soon.

In this case, are should be used because it's plural.

  • Except that the 'Commonwealth Games' could be construed as one thing, or several.
    – Tim
    Mar 13, 2017 at 8:57
  • @Tim It's plural noun because you don't capitalized the Game. It could be considered as a singular noun if it were capitalized. Mar 13, 2017 at 8:59
  • So Commonwealth Games is singular, whereas Commonwealth games is plural?
    – Tim
    Mar 13, 2017 at 9:02
  • @Tim it could be, it depends on the context. Mar 13, 2017 at 9:09
  • So that narrows it down to a 50/50, where we started.
    – Tim
    Mar 13, 2017 at 9:12

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