Caleb S.
Caleb S.

What is a Collective Noun? Examples & Definition

19 min read

Published on: Jun 20, 2024

Last updated on: Jun 24, 2024

Collective Nouns

Have you ever wondered what to call a group of animals, people, or objects? In English, we use special words called Collective Nouns to describe these groups. 

Collective nouns are unique because they help us talk about many things as if they are one. 

For example, instead of saying "a bunch of birds," we can say "a flock of birds." It's a simple yet interesting way to make language precise.

Collective Noun Definition

“A collective noun is a singular noun that refers to a group of people, animals, or things as a single entity.” 

It represents a collection of individuals as a unified whole. 

Unlike regular nouns that typically denote one person, animal, or thing, collective nouns identify a collective group and are treated as singular in terms of grammar.

Examples of Collective Nouns

Here are some collective nouns examples for different categories:

Collective Nouns for People

  • Team: players, workers
  • Crowd: spectators, audience
  • Band: musicians
  • Staff: employees
  • Crew: sailors, workers

Collective Nouns for Things

  • Library: books
  • Bouquet: flowers
  • Range: mountains
  • Set: furniture, dishes
  • Suite: rooms
  • Fleet: ships

Collective Nouns for Animals

  • Herd: elephants, cattle, deer
  • Pack: wolves, dogs
  • Flock: birds, sheep
  • School: fish
  • Pride: lions
  • Gaggle: geese
  • Pod: whales, dolphins
  • Swarm: bees, insects

Collective Nouns for Birds

  • Flock: birds
  • Murder: crows
  • Exaltation: larks
  • Parliament: owls
  • Flight: swallows
  • Cast: hawks

Are Collective Nouns Singular or Plural? 

In US English, collective nouns are typically treated as singular entities, regardless of whether they refer to a group. 

American English emphasizes the group as a unified whole. For example:

  • "The team is preparing for the championship."

Here, "team" is singular, focusing on the team as a single unit working towards a common goal.

In UK English, there is more flexibility. While treating collective nouns as singular is common in British English, using them in the plural form to emphasize the individuals within the group is also acceptable. For example: 

  • "The team are arguing over tactics."

In this example, "team" is pluralized to highlight the actions of individual team members.

How to Use Collective Nouns 

Using collective nouns correctly in writing requires understanding when to treat them as singular or plural. This distinction depends on the context of the sentence. 

Here’s a guide to help you determine how to use collective nouns effectively:

1. Understanding Singular Collective Nouns

When a collective noun refers to a group acting as a single unit, it is treated as singular. This means using singular pronouns and verbs that reflect the group as a whole.

  • For instance: "The team is celebrating its victory with a parade."
    • Here, "team" is singular. The verb "is celebrating" and the pronoun "its" are also singular, highlighting the collective nature of the team’s celebration.
  • Another example: "The committee has decided to implement new policies."
    • In this sentence, "committee" is singular. The singular verb "has decided" and the pronoun "its" are singular, indicating a unified decision by the committee.
  • Similarly: "The flock of geese migrates south for the winter."
    • "Flock" is singular here. The verb "migrates" is singular, emphasizing the group’s movement as a single entity.

2. Understanding Plural Collective Nouns

When individual members of a collective noun act independently, the collective noun is treated as plural. This requires using plural pronouns and verbs to reflect the individual actions within the group.

  • For example: "The jury deliberate for hours before reaching their verdict.
    • Here, "jury" is plural. The verb "deliberate" and the pronoun "their" are plural, showing that each juror is considering the case independently.
  • Another example: "The class present their projects to the entire school."
    • "Class" is plural in this context. The plural verb "present" and the pronoun "their" are plural, indicating that each student is presenting their own project.
  • Additionally: "The staff are preparing for the upcoming conference."
    • In this sentence, "staff" is plural. The verb "are preparing" and the pronoun "their" are plural, illustrating the individual efforts of each staff member.

Collective Noun Examples Used in Sentences 

Let’s explore some examples of collective nouns used in sentences, demonstrating how they refer to groups as singular entities:

  • The team celebrated their victory with a parade through the city.
  • A flock of birds flew overhead, creating intricate patterns in the sky.
  • The jury deliberated for hours before reaching a verdict.
  • A pride of lions lounged under the shade of a tree.
  • The pack of wolves howled in unison, echoing through the forest.

List of Common Collective Nouns

Collective nouns are simple yet powerful words that describe groups of people, animals, or things. Here’s a helpful collective noun list to understand these unique linguistic terms.

Collective Noun

Examples

Team

athletes, workers

Herd

elephants, cattle

Flock

birds, sheep

Swarm

bees, insects

Fleet

ships, vehicles

School

fish, dolphins

Murder

crows, ravens

Range

mountains, hills

Suite

rooms, apartments

Congress

lawmakers, delegates

Colony

ants, penguins

Band

musicians, artists

Gaggle

geese, birds

Pride

lions, cats

Squad

soldiers, police

Assembly

parts, delegates

Parliament

owls, birds

Cluster

stars, grapes

Clowder

cats, kittens

Array

objects, figures

Horde

zombies, locusts

Troop

monkeys, soldiers

Coven

witches, vampires

Charm

finches, snakes

Litter

puppies, kittens

Syllabus

courses, topics

Sequence

numbers, events

Complex

buildings, minds

Flotilla

boats, sailors

Squadron

aircraft, pilots

String

pearls, notes

Brood

chicks, dragons

Circle

friends, warriors

Ring

trees, bells

Bundle

sticks, joy

Quiver

arrows, joy

Belt

hands, events

Hive

bees, thoughts

Coterie

friends, authors

Galaxy

stars, clouds

Ensemble

musicians, actors

Collective Nouns Worksheet to Test Your Knowledge

Instructions: Match the collective nouns with the correct groups of people, animals, or things.

  • A group of lions is called a

a) Team

b) Herd

c) Pride

  • A large number of bees can form a

a) Pack

b) Flock

c) Swarm

  • A ________ of geese flew overhead.

a) Herd

b) Flock

c) Murder

  • The ________ won the championship.

a) Team

b) Flock

c) Colony

  • We saw a ________ of wolves in the forest.

a) School

b) Pack

c) Band

  • The library has a ________ of rare manuscripts.

a) Collection

b) Suite

c) Congress


Let’s see if all your answers are correct! 

  • c) Pride
  • c) Swarm
  • b) Flock
  • a) Team
  • b) Pack
  • a) Collection

In conclusion, understanding collective nouns is fundamental for enhancing your ability to vividly describe groups of people, animals, or things in the English language. These specialized words allow for precise and imaginative expressions of collective identities and behaviors.

Start using collective nouns effectively today and transform your language proficiency with confidence!

If you are wondering if “AI to help me write an essay”, give a try to our essay writing tools! 

Continue Learning

If you want to learn more about academic writing, grammar, and related concepts, check out these blogs. 

Grammar


Writing


Citation

Dangling Modifiers

Essay Writing

APA format

Homophones

Paraphrasing

MLA format

Infinitives

Thesis Statement

Chicago Style

Analogy

Paragraph

Harvard Style

Participle

Summary

IEEE Citation

Articles in Grammar

Plagiarism

Oxford Referencing

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

What are some examples of collective nouns Ks2?

  • Team: athletes, workers
  • Herd: elephants, cattle
  • Flock: birds, sheep
  • Colony: ants, penguins
  • Band: musicians, artists

Give a list of some funny collective nouns.Give a list of some funny collective nouns.

  • A murder of crows
  • A blessing of unicorns
  • A romp of otters
  • A pandemonium of parrots
Caleb S.

WRITTEN BY

Caleb S. (Mass Literature and Linguistics)

Caleb S. is an accomplished author with over five years of experience and a Master's degree from Oxford University. He excels in various writing forms, including articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As a valued author at MyEssayWriter.ai, Caleb assists students and professionals by providing practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style enhancement.

Caleb S. is an accomplished author with over five years of experience and a Master's degree from Oxford University. He excels in various writing forms, including articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As a valued author at MyEssayWriter.ai, Caleb assists students and professionals by providing practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style enhancement.

On This Page On This Page

Keep reading

12 min read

The 8 Parts of Speech - Learn with Examples

Collective Nouns
16 min read

What's a Noun? Definition, Examples, and Types

Collective Nouns
15 min read

What Are Verbs and How They Work?

Collective Nouns
17 min read

An Easy Guide on Adverbs: Definition, Use, Types & Examples

Collective Nouns
13 min read

Learn About Conjunction and Its Types | With Examples

Collective Nouns
24 min read

Understanding What is A Pronoun: Definition, Types & Examples

Collective Nouns
17 min read

What's an Adjective? Definition and Examples

Collective Nouns
15 min read

An Introduction to Prepositions – With Types & Examples!

Collective Nouns
10 min read

What’s an Interjection? Definition, Types, and Usage With Examples

Collective Nouns
13 min read

What's an Abstract Noun? Definition and Examples

Collective Nouns
16 min read

Understanding Proper Nouns: Definition, Usage & Examples

Collective Nouns
13 min read

What is a Common Noun? Definition, Types & Examples

Collective Nouns
19 min read

What are Uncountable Nouns? Definition & Examples

Collective Nouns
12 min read

Countable Nouns: Definition, Examples, Tips & More

Collective Nouns
16 min read

What’s a Concrete Noun?

Collective Nouns
13 min read

Possessive Pronouns: Definition & Examples

Collective Nouns
15 min read

Relative Pronouns: Definition, Examples & Worksheet

Collective Nouns
16 min read

Personal Pronouns | Types, Definitions, And Examples

Collective Nouns
14 min read

What Are Reflexive Pronouns? List & Examples

Collective Nouns
15 min read

A Complete Guide to Indefinite Pronouns: Learn, Practice, and Use

Collective Nouns
15 min read

What Are Demonstrative Pronouns? Definition and Examples

Collective Nouns
10 min read

What's An Intensive Pronoun?

Collective Nouns
14 min read

What is an Intransitive Verb? | Definition & Examples

Collective Nouns
14 min read

What are Transitive Verbs? Definition, Usage, and Examples

Collective Nouns
17 min read

Phrasal Verbs: Comprehensive List and Usage

Collective Nouns
24 min read

14 Common Types of Verbs | Definition, Usage, and Examples

Collective Nouns
33 min read

What Are Irregular Verbs? List and Examples

Collective Nouns
Close Icon Login

Get Access to Advanced Features with our Affordable Plans

star FREE

Complimentary Trial

Free

$0

OFFER ENDS Today

Access to all Tools

No Credit Card needed

Quota: 1500 Words (6 pages)

Offer ends in: 03hr 19m 8s

Close Icon

Get started for free

Close Icon

Log In

Verify Your Account

Code sent to aimen@gmail.com

Send again in seconds

Send again Send Again Icon

Code sent to +1 302 385 6690