Audiences or audience? Is “audience” singular or plural?
The title of this post is a popular topic that has been asked by many people, and the answer to it might surprise you.
“Audience” is a collective noun, similar to other collective nouns like children, police, crowd, and family. This may cause confusion when trying to find the plural of the noun “audience,” which is audiences.
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Audience or Audiences?
So, which is correct: audiences or audience?
Although the word “audience” is a collective noun, it is typically followed by a singular verb. Therefore we can say, “The audience is enjoying the sporting event” to suggest a group of people as a whole.
Audiences is the plural of the noun “audience.” This refers to many groups of people. For instance, “multiple sporting audiences from around the world tuned in to watch the Olympics.”
An audience is a group of people who watch, listen to, or read a particular work of art, performance, or communication.
We can find an audience in many places, such as:
- At the Chelsea football game.
- At the theatre.
- At Ed Sheeran’s music gig.
- Attending Saturday Night Live.
- On social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Is “audience” singular or plural?
“Audience” is a collective noun. It can be treated as singular or plural.
If we want to emphasize the unity of the group of people as one, we can treat the noun “audience” as singular.
If we want to emphasize that this is a group of people with differences, we can treat the noun “audience” as plural.
For example, we might say “the audience was entertained” to emphasize that the group as a whole was entertained, or we might say “the audience were divided by the performance” to emphasize that the individuals in the audience had different reactions to the performance.
“Audience is” or “Audience are”
As you can see from Google Ngrams, the usage of “audience is” has been increasing dramatically in recent years, which suggests that more people are now treating “audience” as singular.
If you test British English against American English corpora, you will find very similar results to the graph depicted above. They both show that “audience is” is much preferred to “audience are” irrespective of the region.
The only flaw with this test is when “audience” is the object of the sentence and the subject is plural. When the subject is plural, we need subject-verb agreement. For example, “The members of the audience are full of excitement.” Here, of course, we would need to use the plural “are” to agree with the subject “members.”
There is no definitive rule about using the word “audience,” and different speakers or writers may have different preferences. So it is generally acceptable to use either the singular or plural forms of the verb be or any other verb for that matter.
The answer to this question depends on how the word “audience” is being used. In most cases, it is considered a singular noun and takes a singular verb, as in “the audience was entertained.”
However, other people who prefer to treat “audience” as a plural noun prefer to add the plural verb.
Examples of Sentences with the Word “Audience”
Here are some example sentences with the word “audience” in them:
- The audience was captivated by the magic show.
- The audience applauded after the actor’s moving speech.
- I’m sorry, but I don’t think this joke is going to work with this audience.
- Do you think the author is writing this book for a specific audience?
- The key to a successful presentation is understanding your audience and tailoring your message accordingly.
- In order to connect with your audience, you need to be genuine and real in your communication.
- The movie reached a broader audience than expected.
“Audience” is a countable noun. Audiences refer to more than one “audience.”
Audiences is the plural form of “audience.” It can be used to refer to more than one group or set of people who are gathered together for a specific purpose – whether that purpose is entertainment, education, or something else entirely.
Examples of Sentences With the Word “Audiences”
- As social media platforms continue to grow in popularity, more and more people are becoming part of different audiences online.
- The author of the book is trying to reach out to multiple audiences with her message.
- Some shows are written specifically for certain audiences, while others are made for a general audience.
- When giving a presentation, it’s important to consider all of the different audiences present.
- Audiences from around the world tuned in to watch the event’s live stream.
- Companies with multi-brand websites have to appeal to a range of audiences.
Individuals Within the Audience
When people want to refer to the audience as individuals, they might say “members of the audience” or “people in the audience.”
- Some of the audience members started jeering and throwing their food at the stage.
- A number of people in the audience were offended by the joke.
- The members of the audience cheered when the band started to play.
- People in the audience were not pleased with the play’s ending.
Other Ways to Write “Audience”
Some people may also use the term “viewers” or “listeners,” depending on the context.
In addition, some writers or speakers may prefer to use a specific word (like “readers” or “fans”) when referring to the set of individuals who are engaging with a particular work of art.
- The radio station listeners participated in the discussion by texting in their answers.
- The viewers at home were outraged by the questions asked on the talk show.
- The fans recited Taylor Swift’s lyrics during her performance.
- The readers would love to hear more from Milo’s character in Pleasant Hill.
Does “audience” have an apostrophe?
“Audience” takes an apostrophe and s when it functions as a possessive noun, meaning that it indicates ownership.
For example, you might say, “the audience’s reaction was not pleasant.”
If you were referring to multiple audiences, you could add an apostrophe after the s, for example, “the audiences’ reactions were very positive around the world.”
The word “audience” can be used as a singular or plural noun, but it is more often used in the singular.
If you are referring to one group of people, you will use the singular form, “audience.” If you are referring to more than one group of people, you will use the plural form, “audiences.”
Ultimately, there is no definitive rule about how to use this word, and different speakers or writers may have their own preferences or conventions.
Leave me a comment with “audience” or “audiences” in a sentence to consolidate what you have learned!
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.