Just had a call from one of our grammar workshop alums, who had heard a radio spot where the announcer said, “Our team of experts is waiting…” His question: Should it be “our team of experts is…” or “our team of experts are…”?
Stop reading for a moment and think about it. How would you answer his question?
Answer: It could be either one.
“Team” is one of those pesky collective nouns – words like “family,” “group,” “committee.” So it could be either “is,” or “are,” depending on whether you think of a team as a single unit (“is”) or as a group of individuals (“are.”)
Having settled the grammatical correctness issue, now let’s take a look at the much more subtle “perception” issue – how the reader “gets it” at an almost subliminal level. Would you rather hire an unidentified single unit (“is”), or would you be more likely to hire a group of individuals (“are”) to handle your needs?
Grammar is more than a set of rules which most of us have forgotten. Indeed, grammar can be a powerful tool for subtly shading meaning – for “writing between the lines.”
Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email email@example.com to learn more.
If this blog post would be useful to your team, please forward it, or drop us an email, and we’ll send them next week’s post for you automatically.
We appreciate your inquiries and referrals.