© 2010 Ugur Akinci
There are those nouns that depict collectivities, groups. For example: a team. A horde. A couple. A series. A collection… Minority. The Olympics. United Nations. We call such words collective nouns (or collective noun phrases).
Although all collective words denote a collection of individuals, they should be treated as SINGULAR words in a sentence. You should use singular verbs and singular pronouns with such words.
For example, “every minority has rights” is correct. We don’t say “every minority have rights” just because a minority group consists of many individuals.
“United Nations is one of the oldest organizations in the West.”
“The Olympics is all about friendship.”
However, when you address the INDIVIDUAL members of the group denoted by the collective word, you should use plural verbs and pronouns.
For example “all members of a minority have rights.”
“United Nations members submit a human rights report annually.”
Numbers and units of measurement are also collective words. That’s why you should always use singular verbs and pronouns with them.
For example, “Two thousand ten is a good year.”
“Fifteen volts is the rating of resistor R1.”
“Fifteen dollars is what you owe.”