"Some singular nouns are often used with a plural verb. For example: government, staff, team, family, audience, committee, company, firm. These nouns are all groups of people. We often think of them as a number of people (= "they"), not as one thing (= "it"). So we often use a plural verb.
* The government want to increase taxes.
In the same way, we often use a plural verb after the name of a sports team or a company.
* Scotland are playing France next week."
In a musical context, I'd put orchestra, ensemble, quartet and, yes, Dominy, even "The Berlin Philharmonic" on this list.
But Murphy's final point is:
"We always use a plural verb with police:
* The police have arrested a friend of mine (not "'The police has').
So in the end, the only case where you MUST use a plural verb with a singular noun (I've never been able to think of another) is "police". In all other cases you can use whichever you prefer. But treating these collective nouns as plurals sounds more natural in modern English (to my ears at least)
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