Singular vs Plural after a country name


Why do journalists use plural verbs after a country name like these examples: 1. "Brazil (are) in an excellent moment, they have confidence, it is easy to see." 2. As Spain (prepare) to defend their World Cup title next year...

asked Jun 30 '13 at 05:39 Hector New member

1 answer


I never see or hear this, but I am in the US.  In these examples, Brazil and Spain are not being used as the name of the country.  These are the names of teams and collective nouns. 


There are no hard rules about the collective noun being used in the singular or plural case.  In American English, it is most common to use the collective noun as a single unit, requiring the singular verb.  In British English, it is more common to use the plural verb.  If you think of Brazil or Spain in these sentences as many people, you might say “these players are in an excellent moment.”

link answered Jun 30 '13 at 16:19 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Agreed Patty, we Brits when speaking of the country generally use the singular, but in the example quoted, "Brazil" is shorthand for " the Brazilian players". And while incidental to the question, what confuses me is how people can be in an excellent , or any other sort of, sort of moment!

Michael CranfieldJun 30 '13 at 18:29

I took it to mean that they are experiencing a moment (albeit a long moment) in time that is excellent for some reason. It's a moment in time that they will look back on, but right now they are in the middle of it.

Patty TJun 30 '13 at 19:52

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