Collective noun can be defined as “a count noun that denotes a group of individuals (e.g. assembly, family, crew).”
“a noun that is singular in form but that refers to a group of people or things.”
Collective noun is a noun used to name the group or number of people or things. We can use collective noun to identify group of nouns to make them as one entity. There are various specific names which we can use for certain groups of nouns.
Using collective nouns we can group more than one things, place, person, animal, idea, etc. Collective nouns are like herd, group, array, class, jury, team, army, council, group, family, audience, board, cabinet, committee, company, corporation, department, faculty, firm, majority, navy, minority, public, school, senate, society, troupe, and so many.
Use of It in the Sentence
Collective nouns are considered as the singular as they show one entity.
- animals like to live in a herd.
- I come first in the class.
- The committee agrees to perform all the responsibilities at right time.
- Members of this group are very active.
We have listed here collective nouns in the categorized form to be used for people, animals, birds, places, things, etc.
Collective nouns used for people: a class of students, a crew of sailors, a choir of singers, an army of soldiers, a band of musicians, a gang of thieves, a group of dancers, a staff of employees, a team of players, a bunch of crooks, a crowd of people or spectators, a troupe of artists or dancers, a pack of thieves, a regiment of soldiers, a panel of experts, a board of directors, an audience of listeners, a tribe of natives, a gang of labourers, a crew of sailors, a bunch of crooks, a flock of tourists, etc.
Collective nouns used for animals: a catch of fish, a flock of birds, a flight of birds, an army of ants, a haul of fish, a flock of sheep, a herd of any animal (like deer, cattle, goats, elephants, buffaloes, horse, etc), a hive of bees, a team of horses, a troop of lions, a zoo of wild animals, a pack of wolves, a litter of cubs, a host of sparrows, a kennel of dogs, a murder of crows, a team of ducks, a team of oxen, a litter of puppies or kittens, a swarm of bees (or ants, rats, flies, etc), a pack of hounds, herd of antelope, army of ants, colony of ants, shrewdness of apes, tribe of baboons, flange of baboons, congress of baboons, culture of bacteria, cete of badgers, colony of badgers, sloth of bears, sleuth of bears, pack of bears (or polar bears), grist of bees, colony of beavers, lodge of beavers, flight of bees or insects, congregation of birds, volery of birds, sedge of bitterns, herd of boar, chain of bobolinks, brace or clash of bucks, rabble of butterflies, wake of buzzards, army of caterpillars, clowder (or clutter, pounce, glaring, dout, nuisance, etc) of cats, drove of cattle, brood of chickens, flock of chickens, congregation of crocodiles, float of crocodiles, litter of dogs, kennel of dogs, pack of dogs, pod of dolphins, convocation of eagles, colony or knot of frogs, bury of rabbits, and so many.
Collective nouns for things: a string of pearls, a library of books, a chest of drawers, a pack of cards, a bunch of keys, a group of islands, a wad of notes, a galaxy of stars, a stack of wood, a fleet of ships, an album of stamps (or autographs, photographs, etc), a hedge of bushes, a basket of fruit, a bowl of rice, a pair of shoes, a bouquet of flowers, a pack of lies, a range of mountains, a cloud of dust, a bouquet of flowers, a bunch of flowers, a pack of cards, a pack of lies, a forest of trees, a galaxy of stars, a range of mountains, a pair of shoes, a wad of notes, etc.
Rules to be Followed
Collective nouns can be singular or plural which depends on the context. However, it is quite difficult to find out which one noun is singular or plural and which verbs and pronouns we should use with the collective noun.
If all the members of the collective noun are working individually, it would be plural collective noun and we should use plural verbs and pronouns with that noun. If all the members of the collective noun are working as a unit in similar fashion, it would be singular collective noun and we should use singular verbs and pronouns with that noun.
We can understand this fact better through example. Imagine that there is a flock of sparrow eating wheat grains on the ground, what will happened if a cat come suddenly near to them. all the sparrow will fly off as a unit to get away from predator (here, collective noun is singular form).
Suppose that there is a group of four cats in the home, but they all may not involve in the same work. One might be sleeping, one might be roaming on bed, and other two might be involving in another work. In this example, there is a group of cats, however all members of group are doing their own thing (here, collective noun is plural form).
Exercises for You
We have provided below some collective noun exercises in order to help you to enhance your skill and knowledge about collective noun. You need to get detail information about collective noun provided above and check your skill through following exercises.
- Give me that bouquet of flowers.
- I have bought a bunch of books.
- My grandmother fed me a pile of cookies daily.
- Have a look on that attractive catch of fish.
- See there is a bed of snakes.
- I will be in the side with majority.
- I am going to the class of students.
- Disease has killed knot of frogs.
- She was attacked by a swarm of wasps.
- He has bought a large bunch of bananas.
- I know the leader of a well-known gang of criminals.
- I saw a big album of photographs of my friend's marriage.
- I would like to sit in the shade of a crowd of trees.
- A flock of birds migrate to another cool regions in the summer season.
- I saw a herd of antelope moving away from the lion.
- I like very much a rabble of butterflies in the spring season.
- My friend has a big kennel of dogs.
- There is a big library of books in my school.
- There is a galaxy of stars in the sky.
- We cannot sit here because of an army of ants.
- He gave me a bouquet of flowers.
- Please let me know if anyone has seen a bunch of keys.
- Poor people needs a stack of wood in the winter season.
- There is a fleet of ships in the ocean.
- My mom has bought a basket of fruits.
- I cannot finish a bowl of rice.
- I have to dispatch a pack of cards among relatives.
- A band of musicians has made this function romantic.
- That was a nice group of dancers, I really liked.
- This meeting has been arranged by a board of directors.
- A flock of tourists come to India every year to see the Indian heritages.
Answers: 1 – bouquet, 2 – bunch, 3 – pile, 4 – catch, 5 – bed, 6 – majority, 7 – class, 8 – knot, 9 – swarm, 10 – bunch, 11 – gang, 12 – album, 13 – crowd, 14 – flock, 15 – herd, 16 – rabble, 17 – kennel, 18 – library, 19 – galaxy, 20 – army, 21 – bouquet, 22 – bunch, 23 – stack, 24 – fleet, 25 – basket, 26 – bowl, 27 – pack, 28 – band, 29 – group, 30 – board, 31 – flock.