Collective nouns

Collective nouns are one of the five types of nouns. Collective nouns are those nouns which represent group/multitude/assemblage.
Collective nouns are considered countable if not individually then as a unit. Collective nouns can be replaced by singular pronouns in formal writing.

Collective nouns are representation as a single unit. The names which denote/refer to group or collection of people, animals, places, ideas or objects of same kind are known as collective nouns.

A collective noun takes both singular and plural verb. When the reference is to a group it takes singular verb whereas if reference is to members of a group as an individual entity it takes plural verb.

Collective Noun Examples

Department, audience, troupe, class, herd, council, galaxy, band, group, pack, crew, gang, a flock, panel, swarm, team, family, committee, dozen, school, staff, cloud, den, bank, bunch, team, choir, pair, bundle, committee, bed, belt, bouquet, colony, troop

Collective Noun Rules

Let us understand more about collective nouns from the following rules and examples.

1. Some collective nouns are non-specific and can be used to refer multiple nouns.


A flock of tourists
A flock of pigeons
A flock of goats
A flock of seagulls
A flock of sheep

2. Some collective nouns when used as common nouns can give completely different meaning.


The class of economics
A pack of robbers
A bank of circuits
A cloud of gnats
A den of snakes

3. “Of” is used often after collective nouns.


A bunch of flowers
A team of players
A group of people
A gang of thieves
A den of snakes

4. Articles “A” is often used in front of collective nouns.


A swarm of bees
A school of fish
A team of doctors
A pair of socks
A bundle of sticks

5. Right verbs and right pronouns should be used with collective nouns. Some collective nouns take singular while others use plural and similar is in the case of pronouns.


The jury gave their decision.
The parents of choir clapped for their spectacular performance.
The team tried their best in cricket tournament,
The members of troupe are cleaning their rooms.
The audience threw eggs on the stage and shouted.

Some of the collective nouns are as follows:

  • litter of cats
  • gaggle of geese
  • herd of buffaloes
  • pride of lions
  • colony of rabbits
  • a jury of judges
  • a crowd of protesters
  • pile of books

Collective nouns can be singular or plural. Americans generally use collective nouns as a singular unit whereas the opposite is in the case of British.