In recent years, I have noticed that there is a tendency that articles (ie. from CNN) or people (especially in the US, it seems) tend to use the word 'is' instead of 'are' in sentences.

Now I was always taught and raised with the fact that you use 'is' when you are talking about something in singular and 'are' when you are speaking in plural.

A quick Google search brings up this very simplicistic answer and explanation, which supports my above statement as being the correct one...


However, the erroneous application of the word persists and frequently resurfaces in the news, in everyday language use etc. and the fact that it is ongoing reminds me of the first Gulf War. At some point, the national news where I live broadcast a press conference of a couple of British Air Force generals who were informing the media about the events that happened that day which included a downed British Tornado fighter/bomber, which was flown by a pilot and a weapons-system officer/navigator. So two persons in all. I remember clearly how the General stated: 'The crew are missing' which even led to the TV-speaker of our national TV-channel commenting on the strange and nonsensical expression as the commonly used term always was and had been: 'The crew is missing'.

Now, I would like to - once and for all - settle the latter as being the correct and the former the incorrect term. If this is confirmed and there doesn't seem to be an exception which in any way would explain the continuous usage of the wrong term, then I'd highly appreciate an explanation as to why someone such as an internationally renowned and highly professional news organization like CNN etc. or a US native American English speaker (or British one for that sake as in the example with the general) would continue to use the wrong grammatical term.

Thanks in advance for any help.


It is a well-known difference between American and British English grammar which is discussed in this Wikipedia article.

In British English (BrE), collective nouns can take either singular (formal agreement) or plural (notional agreement) verb forms, according to whether the emphasis is on the body as a whole or on the individual members respectively.....

In American English (AmE), collective nouns are almost always singular in construction: the committee was unable to agree.