Agreement: Proper Nouns

May 21, 2021

Different types of proper nouns follow different agreement rules.

Names of Companies and Organizations

Organization and company names are similar to collective nouns, and they typically take singular verbs even though they refer to a group.

The World Health Organization has worked hard to eradicate smallpox.
Toyota builds very reliable cars.

Team Names

After reading all of this information about collective nouns, you might think that you can use a singular noun with specific team names, but they actually require plural verbs.

The New England Patriots have been to the Superbowl ten times.
The Miami Heat were in the NBA playoffs in 2018.

The only exception is when you use a team’s city name instead of their team name. In this case, you always use a singular verb.

Vancouver has never won the Stanley Cup.

Musical Groups

If a musical group’s name is singular, use a singular verb. If the name is plural, use a plural verb.

Maroon 5 has released six platinum albums.
Twenty One Pilots have spent 140 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 list.

Geographic Names Ending in s

In Lesson 5 you learned that titles are singular even when they contain plural nouns and pronouns. Geographic locations ending in s usually follow the same rule. Occasionally, however, you’ll use a plural verb when you’re referring to a region’s separate states, provinces, or islands. Let’s take a look at the examples below to get a better grasp of this concept.

The United Arab Emirates is located in Western Asia.

This sentence refers to the United Arab Emirates as a one country, not as individual emirates. (Emirates are similar to states or provinces.)

The United Arab Emirates form a single government.

Here, we’re referring to the separate emirates, not to the country as a whole.

The Cayman Islands has a population of approximately 60,765.

In this sentence the Cayman Islands is a single location. The Cayman Islands is the official name. We’re not referring to the populations of the individual islands.

The Cayman Islands are known for their beauty.

This sentence refers to each of the three Cayman islands separately, not to the territory as a whole.


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