What Is Collective Noun – Example Of Collective Noun

Let’s learn Collective Nouns!

What Is Collective Noun – Example Of Collective Noun

What is collective noun? Would you like to learn in the simplest way with a lot of examples? Then, don’t worry, just go through our articles, it is filled with a simple explanation, so many images, video, and many more!

Let’s explore collective nouns!

What is Collective Noun? 

Do you have any idea about what is collective noun? It is a wide chapter and we will explore collective nouns in this lesson in the simplest way.

Dodo love his school very much and he attends his class every day. His house is 1.0 km distance from school and he used to see a lot of people, a lot of cows, a lot of birds on his path every day.

what is collective noun basic
Fig. 1 What is collective noun?

Now, every time it’s is very difficult to talk about a lot of people or a lot of birds or a lot of cows, etc. and it will not be the right English in grammar too. Hence, it’s necessary to shorten and the concept of collective nouns in English grammar comes in our subject.

The word ‘collective’ comes from a ‘collection’ and ‘noun’ signifies ‘name’. So, collective nouns mean a collection of a number of :

  • people,
  • animals,
  • birds,
  • places,
  • ideas, or
  • things and remember it should be two or more. 

Here, we say,

  • The crowd instead of a lot of people
  • Herd instead of a lot of cows
  • Flock instead of a lot of birds

These crowd, herd, flock, etc. are known as collective nouns.

Example of Collection Noun and Explanation

Let us look at a few collective nouns with explanations for our basic understanding: 

Collective Nouns  Explanation 
Class  A class of students 
Herd  A herd of cattle 
Flock  A flock of birds 
Pack  A pack of wolves 
School  A school of fishes 
Bunch  A bunch of flowers 
Board  A board of directors 
Crew  A crew of sailors 
Group  A group of friends 
Range  A range of hills 
Mob  A mob of kangaroos 

Check out our ANIMATED video!

Rules to Use Collective Nouns

There are simple rules for the use of collective nouns.

Rule #1: Use of Singular Verb

We all know that a singular noun takes a singular verb. Here, in the same way, a singular collective noun takes a singular verb. When all the individuals of a collective noun are performing the same action as a unit, we will use a singular verb.

Examples:

  • The audience is enjoying a cricket match. 
  • The shoal was coming towards me.
  • The family enjoys a birthday party.
  • The crowd is very happy there.

Explanation:

Here, the audience acts as a common, that all people are enjoying in the same way during the cricket match, hence, we say, the audience IS enjoying instead of ARE enjoying.

singular verb example
Fig. 3 Singular verb example

In the same way, shoal or family or crowd, etc. acts as a common unit and all are with a singular verb.

Rule#2: Use of Plural Verb

We all know that a plural noun takes a plural verb. Here, in the same way, a plural verb follows a plural collective noun. When all the individuals of a collective noun are performing different activities other than the same action, we will use a plural verb.

Examples:

  • The audience are all showing various flags in the stadium.  
  • The shoal were running off in a different direction. 
  • The families enjoy a birthday party.
  • The crowd are playing various instruments.

Explanation:

Here, the audience acts as a separate unit like showing different flags, look at the below image all flags are different, hence, we say, the audience ARE showing instead of the audience IS showing. 

collective noun plural verb example
Fig. 3 Plural verb example

In the same way, shoal or family or crowd, etc. acts as a separate unit and all are with a plural verb.

Rule#3: ‘Members of’ with Collective Noun

Sometimes, plural verbs may sound odd and we are not comfortable with it. In this case, we can add “members of” before the collective noun, to sound plural verb properly.

  • The members of the family are taking different foods. 
  • The members of the orchestra are playing different instruments. 
  • The staff members have been working in different departments. 

Rule#4: Exception of Singular / Plural Form in Collective Noun   

There are few exceptions in singular and plural form which need to be kept in mind. For example,

Example Explanation
Herd of deer

Here, we are using DEER instead of DEERS, although for the cow, elephant, etc. we are using a herd of cows or elephants

Remember DEER is the most preferred plural form used in English grammar as the irregular plural form. Hence, most type of deer-like caribou, moose, elk we use the same philosophy, i.e.

A herd of deer/caribou/elk

In the same way, sheep is also an irregular plural form and we use a herd of sheep instead of a herd of sheeps.

School of fish

Here, we use FISH instead of FISHES. In modern English, the plural of fish is fish only. Hence, we use the school of fish instead of school fishes. In the same way, we use, the party of rainbow fish instead of fishes. 

List of Collective Noun 

We use so many collective nouns in our day t day life, however, few of them are widely used. Let’s us check few of them,

Collective Noun Band

  • A band of men
  • A band of musicians

Collective Noun Boards

  • A board of directors
  • A board of trustees
  • A board of chess players
collective noun board of chess players
Fig. 4 A board of chess players

Collective Noun Bunch

  • A bunch of seals
  • A bunch of pigeons
collective noun bunch of pigeons
Fig. 5 A bunch of pigeons

Collective Noun Bouquet

  • A bouquet of flowers

Collective Noun Catalogue

  • A catalogue of prices

Collective Noun Cluster

  • A cluster of coconuts
  • A cluster of grapes
  • A cluster of spiders

Collective Noun Crowd

  • A crowd of onlookers
  • A crowd of people
  • A crowd of spectators
collective noun crew of sailors
Fig. 6 A crew of sailors

Collective Noun Crew

  • A crew of sailors
  • A crew of air hostess

There are so many worksheets for collective nouns available, which helps to test the knowledge. 

Collective Noun Choir

  • A choir of angels
  • A choir of singers

Collective Noun Colony

  • A colony of avocets
  • A colony of bats

Collective Noun Flock

  • A flock of birds
  • A flock of bustards
  • A flock of camels
  • A flock of chickens
  • A flock of ducks
  • A flock of geese
  • A flock of goats
  • A flock of parrots
  • A flock of pigeons
  • A flock of seagulls
  • A flock of sheep
  • A flock of swifts
  • A flock of tourists
  • A flock of turkeys
collective noun flock of parrot
Fig. 7 A flock of parrot

Collective Noun Fall

  • A fall of lambs
  • A fall of woodcock

Collective Noun Group

  • A group of friends
  • A group of guinea pigs
  • A group of islands
  • A group of people
  • A group of dancers
  • A group of engineers

Collective Noun Gang

  • A gang of crooks
  • A gang of elk
  • A gang of hoodlums
  • A gang of laborers
  • A gang of slaves
  • A gang of thieves
  • A gang of criminals
  • A gang of crooks
  • A gang of hoodlums
  • A gang of prisoners
  • a gang of youths (derogatory)
collective noun labour image
Fig. 8 A gang of laborers

Collective Noun Heap

  • A heap of trash

Collective Noun herd

The herd is a very common collective noun in many animals. These are mainly applicable for antelope, asses, buffaloes, bears, curlew, cows, chamois, cranes, chinchillas, deer, donkeys, elk, elephants, and many more.

  • A herd of antelope
  • A herd of asses
  • A herd of buffaloes
  • A herd of bears
  • A herd of cattle
  • A herd of caribou
  • A herd of curlew
  • A herd of cows
  • A herd of chamois
  • A herd of cranes
  • A herd of chinchillas
  • A herd of deer
  • A herd of donkeys
  • A herd of elk
  • A herd of elephants
  • A herd of fairies
  • A herd of gnus
  • A herd of giraffes (tower)
  • A herd of goats (caper)
  • A herd of hippopotami
  • A herd of horses
  • A herd of llamas
  • A herd of moose
  • A herd of oxen
  • A herd of pigs
  • A herd of ponies
  • A herd of sea horses
  • A herd of seals
  • A herd of swans
  • A herd of swine
  • A herd of walruses
  • A herd of whales
  • A herd of wolves
  • A herd of wrens
  • A herd of yaks
  • A herd of zebras
herd of deer image
Fig. 9 A herd of deer

Collective Noun Mob

The word mob is used widely used for emus, kangaroos, meerkats, thieves, sheep, wallabies, deer, rioters, etc.  

  • A mob of emus
  • A mob of kangaroos
  • A mob of meerkats
  • A mob of thieves
  • A mob of sheep
  • A mob of sheep (Australian)
  • A mob of wallabies (bounce)
  • A mob of deer
  • A mob of rioters

Collective Noun Orchestra

  • An orchestra of musicians

Collective Noun Pack

This pack is used for many animals, like bears, coyotes, dogs, grouse, gulls, hounds, lies, mongooses, mules, rats, sharks, letters, etc.

Let’s check, 

  • A pack of bears (polar bears)
  • A pack of coyotes
  • A pack of dogs
  • A pack of grouse (large group)
  • A pack of gulls
  • A pack of hounds
  • A pack of lies
  • A pack of mongooses
  • A pack of mules
  • A pack of rats
  • A pack of sharks
  • A packet of letters

Collective Noun Packet

The packet is widely used for cigarettes, coyotes, etc. 

  • A packet of cigarettes
  • A pack of coyotes

Collective Noun Panel

  • A panel of experts

Collective Noun Party

  • A party of rainbow fish
party of rainbow fish
Fig. 10 Party of rainbow fish

Collective Noun Piece

  • A piece of cheese
  • A piece of chocolate

Collective Noun Pile

  • A pile of books
pile of books
Fig. 11 Pile of books

Range

  • A range of hills
  • A range of mountains

School

  • A school of cod
  • A school of fish
  • A school of clerks
  • A school of dolphins
  • A school of porpoises
  • A school of butterflyfish
school of dolphins
Fig. 12 A school of dolphins

Series

  • A series of events
  • A series of photos

Set

  • A set of bowls
  • A set of utensils

Collective Noun Shoal

The word shoal is mainly used for bass, fish, herrings, mackerel, pilchards, salmon, sharks, minnows, etc.

  • A shoal of bass
  • A shoal of fish
  • A shoal of herrings
  • A shoal of mackerel
  • A shoal of pilchards
  • A shoal of salmon
  • A shoal of sharks
  • A shoal of minnows
  • A shoal of roach
  • A shoal of shads
  • A shoal of sticklebacks
shoal of sharks
Fig. 13 A shoal of shark

Shower

  • A shower of bastards

Slice

  • A slice of bread
  • A slice of pizza

Staff

  • A staff of employees
  • A staff of servants

Stack

  • A stack of books

Swarm

Swarm means a large group of insects, widely used for ants, bees, butterflies, eels, gnats, etc.

  • A swarm of ants
  • A swarm of bees
  • A swarm of butterflies
  • A swarm of eels
  • A swarm of flies
  • A swarm of gnats
  • A swarm of grasshoppers
  • A swarm of hornets
  • A swarm of insects
  • A swarm of locusts
  • A swarm of mosquitoes
  • A swarm of rats

Collective Noun Team

  • A team of players
  • A team of oxen

Troop

  • A troop of scouts
  • A troop of lions
  • A troop of monkeys

Collective Noun Troupe

  • A troupe of shrimp
  • A troupe of artistes
  • A troupe of dancers
  • A troupe of minstrels
  • A troupe of performers
  • A troupe of jugglers

Further Study

Related Articles
What is noun in english grammar Thirty important tips to concentrate on study
Type of Nouns Tips to build reading habit of kids
What is preposition  Rules to use Preposition ON

Reference

  • NCERT Books
  • Our Own Experience

Conclusion

Hence, we have learned the basics of collective nouns. There are so many collective nouns that are captured as a list of collective nouns, along with images.

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