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Plural or singular verb with audience?


It sounds wrong to use the plural verb are with the word audience. Which of the following is correct?

  • applications whose primary audience are clinical managers


  • applications whose primary audience is clinical managers


Generally, you should use is rather than are when audience is the subject of a sentence or clause. Collective nouns such as audience, group, team, committee, etc. are generally considered to be singular. Confusion arises because audience is a single entity made up of many individuals.

In your example, you are speaking of one audience (the subject) that is made up of individual clinical managers. Since they are not acting individually, use the singular verb form:

  • applications whose primary audience is clinical managers

Or you could reword the sentence to make it sound more natural:

  • The primary audience for these applications is clinical managers.