Collective Nouns

Collective nouns name a whole group (or collection; makes sense, right?) of people, places, or things. But, weirdly, they are usually singular in form, even though they refer to a bunch of things.

Here are a few examples, but click below for more goods.
- Team
- Jury
- Company
- Family
- Army
- Herd
- Panel

 

Examples

"The faculty will decide whether or not the Spanish class can take a field trip to Cancun."

The faculty is made up of several teachers, and the class is made up of several students, so both are collective nouns.

"Before he performed the card trick, the magician asked Emily to inspect his deck."

Deck is a collective noun that refers to the entire group of playing cards with which the magician is about to astonish Emily and her friends.

"Our trip to the forest was interrupted by a pack of werewolves."

Here, the forest refers to a collection of trees, and pack refers to a group of werewolves. Both are collective nouns, but only one doesn't get along with vampires.

 

Common mistakes

Collective nouns are almost always singular in form, which means they require a singular verb. Yeah, it's bizarreā€¦ but so is the entirety of the English language.

Example:

"On Survivor, the tribe vote out a member every three days."

OR

"On Survivor, the tribe votes out a member every three days."

The first sentence is incorrect because the collective noun tribe is singular, but the verb vote is plural. They don't match. The second sentence is correct because it matches a singular collective noun (tribe) with a singular verb (does). Plus, "the tribe have spoken" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

 

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