Think of the words team, group, or flock- these are examples of collective nouns. Collective nouns are particular kinds of nouns in English, where groups of people, things, or objects are treated like one single entity; they are no longer individuals.
There are over 150 collective nouns in English. Let’s dig into some common ones now.
There are tons of collective nouns in English. Here are a few common examples you may have seen before.
Here we have more examples of collective nouns; scroll down to find out more.
Many collective nouns, such as ‘crowd,’ are common nouns, which is why many confuse the two.
|Collective Nouns Are usually treated as singular.
|Common Nouns Can be singular or plural.
|Collective Nouns Are a group of things treated like one entity.
|Common Nouns Used as individual units.
|Collective Nouns Refer to groups made up of many things, people, or objects.
|Common Nouns Refer to things, people, or objects in general.
Like common nouns, collective nouns can also be proper nouns; however, there are a few key differences. Proper nouns that refer to companies, organizations, or names of companies can also be collective nouns.
When we talk about these companies and organizations of hundreds or thousands of employees in some situations, they become one thing.
Every collective noun is made up of a group of people, objects, or things but is treated as one. Which makes many people wonder whether collective nouns are plural or singular.
Collective nouns can be singular or plural, depending on the situation and how each individual entity is seen within that group.
When we treat a collective noun as a singular entity, it’s because we see that particular group acting, thinking, or doing things the same way. Collective nouns are most commonly referred to as singular because we see the group as a whole.
You will notice that we use singular linking verbs like ‘is’ and ‘was’ to make these sentences. This is because we treat each group as a whole, not as individuals.
Note: In British English, collective nouns are often referred to in the plural, with plural verbs and plural pronouns.
In American English, collective nouns are mostly treated like singular entities. However, collective nouns can sometimes be referred to in the plural, especially when you want to highlight individual actions within that group; this is often called a noun of multitude.
Some collective noun examples are pluralized.
And finally, here are some more examples for you to look at, just in case you didn't have enough.
While you’re here, we’ve got a ton of other noun-related content for you to look at!
Have a question about collective nouns? See if we've answered it here.
What is a collective noun?
How do you use collective nouns in a sentence?
What's a noun of multitude?