Are Band Names Singular or Plural?

Is a rock band singular or plural?

Mignon Fogarty
2-minute read

On Twitter, a user with the handle noisejourno asked about band names, writing 

band names singular or plural

Collective nouns, such as the word band, are generally singular in the United States; but for band names, most people go by the rule that if the band name sounds plural (like the Beatles or Black Eyed Peas), they treat the name as plural, and if the band name sounds singular (like Fall Out Boy or Coldplay), they treat the name as singular. 

So in the US, you’d see sentences such as “The Black Eyed Peas were amazing at the Rose Bowl” (treating Black Eyed Peas as plural because it sounds plural), and “Coldplay is hitting the road this summer,” (treating Coldplay as singular because it sounds singular).

But now I need to point out a British English versus American English difference:

British writers are more likely than American writers to treat all band names as plural. For example, it’s easy to find British publications writing about the recent Coldplay tour with lines such as “Coldplay are the headliners,” and “Coldplay are asking their fans to submit requests for European tour dates.”

That’s your Quick and Dirty Tip: If you’re in the US, treat band names like they soundsingular if they sound singular and plural if they sound pluralbut if you’re writing with British English, treat all band names as plural.


”Plural Noun Forms.” The Guide to Grammar and Writing website. Hartford, CT: Capital Community College Foundation. http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/plurals.htm (accessed June 3, 2016).

O’Connor, P.T. and Kellerman, S. “Group Therapy.” Grammarphobiahttp://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2008/07/group-therapy.html (accessed June 3, 2016).

“Collective Nouns.” AP Stylebookhttp://www.apstylebook.com/online/?do=entry&id=605&src=AE (accessed June 3, 2016, subscription required).

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.

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