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