While the context and even the image in Studio D A1 implies that there are a couple of people, but it's written as:

Die Polizei ist gekommen.

instead of

Die Polizei sind gekommen.

and somewhere else it's indicated as:

Sie (die Polizei) haben ein protokoll geschreiben.

1 Answer 1


Die Polizei ist gekommen.

That's because die Polizei ist a collective singular noun as das Geld, das Mehl, der Zucker.

This is different from the noun der Polizist/die Polizistin which aren't collectives.

Sie (die Polizei) hat ein Protokoll geschrieben.

Sie (die Polizisten/Polizistinnen) haben ein Protokoll geschrieben.

Sometimes, die Polizei is used in plural:

Die Polizeien Deutschlands und der Niederlande haben bei dieser Drogenrazzia eng zusammengearbeitet.

  • Yeah!! Now I do understand! The second sentence it says "Sie haben ..." but actually it refers to Polizisten/Polizistinnen not the Collective singular noun which is "Polizei" in here. Thanks a lot dear @Janka
    – Armin
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 21:16
  • Is really Polizei a collective noun? (And is it Zucker?)
    – c.p.
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 23:03
  • I'd think so. It applies to any individual associated with it.
    – Janka
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 23:11
  • 1
    The source of confusion is probably that the English language addresses an organization consisting of several people in the plural form (the police are doing something) while German regards the organization as a single entity and thus uses singular here. Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 16:35

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