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    Writing Rules: Forming plurals of Collective Nouns

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    When a collective noun refers to a group as a unit, it is singular. (Use the singular pronoun its.)

    The Advertising Department meets weekly. Its goal is to meet every day.
    (group as a unit)

    A collective noun that refers to a group's individual members is plural. (Use the plural pronoun their.)

    The Advertising Department clapped their hands when their manager was introduced.
    (group as individuals)

    (From Write for Business, page 210, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 22)