Collective Nouns for intermediate learners

If we want to represent certain individual nouns as one entity we can make use of collective nouns. In this lesson, you'll learn about their structure and uses.

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"Collective Nouns" in English Grammar

What Are Collective Nouns?

Collective nouns refer to a group or collection of people or things as a single unit.

Common Collective Nouns

In the list below, you can see some examples of common collective nouns:

  • Band
  • Gang
  • Class
  • Crowd
  • Team
  • Panel
  • Pack
  • Herd
  • Bunch
  • Bouquet

Tip!

Most collective nouns refer to groups of people, but some refer to animals or objects.

  • Animals: herd, flock
  • Things: bunch, bouquet

Collective Nouns: Singular or Plural?

Whether a collective noun is singular or plural, depends on the context. In other words, a collective noun can be singular or plural. It depends on how we perceive the individuals in the group.

When you want to consider the individuals as a single unit, it means you will see the collective noun as singular (with singular verbs and singular pronouns), for example:

The family still has its farm in the countryside.

If you want to consider the individuals acting individually in a group, it means you will treat the collective noun as plural (with plural verbs and plural pronouns), for example:

The jury decide his fate today.

Tip!

In American English, we normally use singular verbs with collective nouns, but in British English, we normally use plural verbs with them.

The police are coming. (BrE)

The police is coming. (AmE)

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