1. Collective nouns
2. How do we use collective nouns?
Collective nouns can be used with a singular verb or a plural verb.
Examples of singular verbs are: is, was, has, (go)es...
Examples of plural verbs are: are, were, have, (go)...
- When we want to refer to the group as a unit, we use a singular verb.
The city council has raised the garbage tax.The band is on tour at the moment.
The use of the verb in the singular or in the plural is therefore given by that to which the speaker wants to refer, whether to the whole or to individual members. In American English the verb is usually used in the singular.
3. Some collective nouns to designate groups
Below is a table with some collective nouns to refer to groups of people, animals and things.
|Jury||A herd of cattle||A lock of hair|
|Family||A herd of elephants||A pack / deck of cards|
|Staff||A flock of birds||A bunch of flowers|
|Team||A flock of sheep||A bunch of carrots|
|Council||A shoal / school of fish||A batch of bread|
|Audience||A litter of kittens||A fleet of ships|
|Gang||A pride of lions||A bundle of firewood|
|Panel||A colony of ants||A cluster of grapes|
|Mob||A cloud of insects||A heap of rubbish|
|Company||A pack of wolves||A convoy of lorries|
|Band||A caravan of camels||A flight of steps|
|Choir||A swarm of bees||A string of garlic|
|Crew||A culture of bacteria||A set of coffee cups|
|Army||A team of horses||A wad of banknotes|
|Singular||When we want to refer to the group as a unit||The jury considers that the defendant is guilty.|
|Plural||When we want to refer to each or most members of the group||The jury don't agree on the verdict.|