This question came in the Dhaka university admission test 2012-13

Q) Which of the following is correct?

(A) The jury are arguing among themselves.

(B) The jury is arguing among themselves.

(C) The jury has argued among themselves.

(D) The jury has been arguing among themselves.

According to this blog, collective nouns should be treated as if they are singular. So, (A) is wrong clearly. Funnily enough, my question bank says (A) is the correct answer.

To be honest, none of (B), (C), and (D) seem right to me. Probably, a better formulation is "The members of the jury is arguing/ has been arguing/ has argued among themselves."

Anyhow, if I must pick one answer from the three options, I have a problem. All three options, (B), (C), and (D), contain singular verbs. So, I'm not sure which one to pick as the correct answer.

Now that I think about it, probably, the question setter thinks that the correct answer is (A) as it is the only answer with a plural verb.

Which is the actual correct option of the 4 options?

Related: 1, 2

  • 1
    As C and D are different tenses, how can they say that one of those is more or less 'correct' than A and B? May 22, 2022 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


if you treat the jury as a singular thing, then use singular verbs. If you treat it as a group of people, then use plural verbs. Only A is correct, because 'themselves' can only refer to more than one person or thing. Your interpretation of the blog you linked to is incorrect and incomplete - as it says, collective nouns can be treated as plurals, especially in British English.

  • 1
    Yes. I would always say "The jury are arguing among themselves", in the same way I would say "Manchester City are the Premier League winners", or- teams and organisations are frequently treated as plural in Britain.
    – WS2
    May 22, 2022 at 17:51
  • 1
    Beware of treating anybody's blog as an authority on the use of English. Much better to google "collective nouns"; you will find dozens of sites that will give you better guidance than somebody's blog. May 22, 2022 at 19:10
  • 1
    @RonaldSole - even the blog linked by tryingtobeastoic says all that we have said above. - "the better practice is to treat collective nouns as singular [...] But the experts agree that it’s not always that simple [...] if the emphasis is on the individuals in the group, the plural verb form is best [...] The editors of Merriam-Webster’s English Usage Dictionary agree [...] By the way, British English is different" - it's all there. May 22, 2022 at 19:15
  • 2
    @MichaelHarvey I am with you as to preference. But my experience of everyday conversational English - we get all the UK radio and TV channels here in Portugal - is that the choice is a free for all, even among the best educated speakers, and that consistency is as much as you can hope for. May 22, 2022 at 22:17
  • 2
    Surely D is also wrong if Jury ... themselves is plural as in A. Shouldn't it be "The jury have been arguing among themselves."? May 23, 2022 at 1:01

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