I am a bit confused with this sentence.

The team was/were now in the field and about to take their/its place.

Since we are referring to taking positions on the field and as all the players take different positions, I thought we have to use the team as a plural here as the emphasis is on individual units. But my book says otherwise.

Is The team were now in the field and about to take their place, correct? Please clarify.

  • Similar question
    – Usernew
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 9:53
  • I (AmE) would use "on the field". I would go with the singular.
    – user3169
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


This is one where opinions can differ a little.

In American English, as a general rule, collective nouns (for example 'team', or perhaps a company name) are referred to in the singular ("The team was now in the field").

In British English, however, both forms are acceptable, and it's not uncommon to see "The team were".

Personally (British) I tend to refer to such things in the singular, and it's probably the safest option in most cases - but in British English, the example you give wouldn't be seen as being incorrect.

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/language/g28.html

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