I have found that in BrE, 'the team' is either singular or plural, while in AmE, it is always singular from here: Team as singular or plural

I read the following line in the article:

Given the right conditions, and the team playing to its potential, Kohli will be disappointed if his team don’t win the series.

Now, my question is: Should we put 'doesn't' in place of 'don't' as looking at the context, here 'team' looks singular? Why?

  • 1
    Do you want an answer for British English? for Indian English? or for some other dialect?
    – Jasper
    Nov 5, 2015 at 21:10
  • @Jasper want an answer for Standard English.
    – Rucheer M
    Nov 6, 2015 at 4:39
  • Related: Band Name Grammar. Nov 8, 2015 at 3:04

1 Answer 1


Subject verb agreement.

'Team' is a collective noun and the beauty of this noun is it can have both -singular and plural verb!

Then, how to decide? Well, it depends on the context.

If you want the noun to act as one unit, use a singular verb.

The team is on the ground.

In other case, if you want to be specific about individuality, use a plural verb. Say--

The team are arguing among themselves over a trivial dispute

So, in the given sentence, the author probably focuses on the individuality.

The context is cricket, and the sport is much dependent on individual's performance that in turn strengthens the team. You often hear either bowlers or batsmen don't perform well and the team loses.

  • I like this way of doing it, but I've heard usages that violate it (in both directions). Is it a rule that many people seem to break, or are you simply making a (very sensible) suggestion?
    – Wolfie Inu
    Nov 5, 2015 at 10:34
  • 1
    English as a language has become quite flexible and in fact, that's the beauty of this language. Yes, what I wrote is standard, the way I read, learn and implement. There are many with other styles and you cannot call them utterly wrong! :) @WolfieInu
    – Maulik V
    Nov 5, 2015 at 10:36
  • Fair enough! The way I was taught was that collective nouns are always singular, but your way makes some sense as well. But I confess that I cringe when I hear, for example, sports announcers deciding that "the German football team are very strong."
    – Wolfie Inu
    Nov 5, 2015 at 11:11
  • Exactly, they refer to each individual in the team, but collectively! @WolfieInu Wikipedia has the page on it that outlines this issue.
    – Maulik V
    Nov 5, 2015 at 11:43

You must log in to answer this question.

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