1. "The collection of books is very old"
  2. "The collection of books are very old"

Which one is correct?


I'm going to refer to the Oxford Dictionary on this one.

The word "collection" is a collective noun, and there are differences in American and British English about how to treat the subject-verb agreement for collective nouns.

In the US, your first statement, "The collection of books is very old." would be accepted usage.

I'm not as familiar with UK English here, but according to the above link, it seems that you have a choice between the two. Perhaps someone from the UK could clarify/correct me.

  • 1
    I'm from the UK and I would go for 1, too. Ask the question: What is very old? Answer: The collection of books. There is only one collection of books, so it should be "is". I agree that every example in the Oxford Dictionary is fine: either "is" or "are" works for me. But in this sentence, we really are talking about one thing: a collection. In fact it could be a very old collection which has lots of new books in it, as well as old books. But the collection is very old. – Au101 Jun 7 '15 at 23:30

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