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.
Collective nouns can be split into sub-categories.
Here are some collective noun examples:
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. For example:
When we talk about these companies and organizations of hundreds or thousands of employees in some situations, they become one entity.
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.
Some collective noun examples:
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.
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.
Some collective noun examples are pluralized:
The ‘is’ in this sentence is a singular linking verb; however, ‘their’ is a plural pronoun to indicate that the group of fish isn’t working together and each fish is acting on their own.
While you’re here, we’ve got a ton of other noun-related content for you to look at!