I have just read a report and the following phrasing is giving me difficulty.

The School are experiencing water penetration problems...

I feel as though it should be 'is' but I can also see why 'are' could be considered to be correct. In the report it is referring to the people who make up the school rather than the building/organisation itself.

Is my thinking correct and are there specific rules governing this scenario?


1 Answer 1


With respect to Robusto and FumbleFingers the "are" is really incorrect English here.

  • The School are experiencing water penetration problems... - Whether a noun or a collective noun you still can't make this word plural. However, there could be an issue at why it is capitalized? Even if School stands for a collective noun for fish (some academics argue that 'School' is incorrect, and that Shoal should generally be used instead) it should still take a singular verb.

If we are talking about the building where you study the correct should either be:

  • The schools are experiencing water penetration problems...


  • The school is experiencing water penetration problems...
  • Specifically, it is incorrect grammatically to not have subject-verb agreement. However, spoken English is fraught with instances of incorrect grammar, so you will always hear and even read grammatically incorrect examples.
    – Vekzhivi
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 14:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .