Collective Nouns (Group Nouns)
in English. Nouns can either be singular or plural
. It is usually easy
to create plural nouns in English,
but there are some exceptions. In this lesson, you will learn about collective nouns
are words that name a person, place, thing, or idea.
are nouns that describe a group, for example: class,
family, herd, couple. These can also be called group nouns.
There are about 200 collective nouns in English. When we use collective
nouns, we often say "a
group of ________," such as a herd of cattle or
clump of grass.
But many collective nouns can also stand alone; for example,
"We moved the herd
to the new field."
Some collective nouns are different in other forms of English. The
lists of collective nouns on this page are American English collective
Table of contents
Collective nouns: animals
Collective nouns: people
Collective nouns: things
Collective nouns: groups of animals
- herd (of cattle; of buffalo; of antelope; of moose)
- school (of fish)
- gaggle (of geese)
- colony (of bats; of ants)
- litter (of kittens; of puppies)
- swarm (of bees)
- pack (of wolves; of coyotes)
- bed (of oysters)
- army (of ants)
- flock (of birds; of sheep)
List of collective nouns describing groups of animals
Collective nouns: groups of people
of collective nouns describing groups of people
- gang (of men)
- faculty (of teachers)
- class (of students; of graduates)
Collective nouns: groups of things
- bushel (of apples)
- range (of mountains)
- bunch (of grapes)
- bundle (of sticks; of newspapers)
- pile (of papers; of books; of magazines; of leaves)
- belt (of asteroids)
- cluster (of desks; of computers; of stars)
- rack (of ribs)
- pair (of shoelaces; of shoes; of pants; of glasses)
- flight (of stairs)
- pack (of cigarettes; of gum)
- packet (of information)
- roll (of pennies; of quarters)
- bale (of hay; of wool)
- deck (of cards)
of collective nouns describing groups of things
Are collective nouns singular or plural?
are usually singular
because they refer to a single
group of animals, people, or things
. American English speakers almost always use singular verbs
with collective nouns.
collective nouns can be used
as singular OR plural
depending on how they are used in a sentence.
Unfortunately, there are no good rules for knowing if a collective noun
should be used as a singular noun or a plural noun.
Here is one way to decide if a collective noun is singular or plural.
Singular collective nouns
members of the group of a collective
do things as one group or
, the collective noun is singular
Substitute the word it
collective noun. If it
makes sense, use a singular verb
=> The class is
watching a movie. (It is watching a movie.)
=> The herd moves
fast. (It moves fast.)
States => The United States celebrates
December. (It celebrates Christmas in December.)
=> The committee chooses
the new secretary. (It
chooses the new secretary.)
=> The family takes
a picture. (It takes a picture.)
Plural collective nouns
When members of the group of a collective
do things as
, the collective noun is plural
collective noun. If they
sounds correct, use a plural verb
=> The police protect
the people. (They protect the
=> The people watch
the parade. (They watch the parade.)
=> The committee vote for
the new secretary.
(They vote for the new secretary.)
=> My family are
always fighting amongst themselves.
(They are always fighting amongst themselves.)
In American English
, most native speakers only use singular verbs
with collective nouns.
In British English
, plural and singular verbs are possible.