I learnt a rule from my grammar notebook:

Always use the singular form of a verb for noncount (uncountable) words:

Where is my money?

There is some rice on the table.

But I recalled a sentence that does not follow this rule:

The police are on their way.

And also another one:

These fish are poisonous.

So why does the rule break here?

  • 1
    They're not uncountable nouns. The police is something referred to as a collective noun and fish is a noun whose plural form is formed irregularly. Jun 21, 2018 at 10:09
  • Thanks @MichaelRybkin for answering, is there a list that seperates these words where I can study and memorize all of them? Also is there any other type of nouns that does not follow THE rule?
    – Shayan
    Jun 21, 2018 at 11:23
  • Do a web search for "English collective nouns" and "irregular nouns" and then follow the links that you get. Jun 21, 2018 at 17:31
  • Erm. I thought these are uncommon things but I found a lot of results..! Thanks :D
    – Shayan
    Jun 21, 2018 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


As stated in the comments, police is a collective noun which takes a plural verb.

In your other sentence, fish is the plural of fish, the aquatic creature. Its plural is different than that of regular nouns.

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