The "Little Picasso" Art Contest Is Back!
pop Up
Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Pair Verbs with Collective Nouns

A noun is a person, place, or a thing. A collective noun is a special kind of noun. It names a group of people or things. That group is considered one unit or one whole.

Example: A bundle of sticks breaks easily when it is very dry.

'Bundle' refers to a group of sticks.

Examples of collective nouns include words like group, class, team, committee, crowd, number, audience and family. Collective nouns are a fun way to make writing more interesting.

Read the following example phrases. Here, each collective noun is underlined.

a battery of tests a squad of players
a deck of cards a clan of hyenas
a flight of stairs a team of oxen
an audience of spectators an army of frogs

As you can see in these examples, the words "a" or "an" usually come before a collective noun. Collective nouns can also be singular or plural. However, most collective nouns are written as singular nouns.

Using 'of' with collective nouns:
Collective nouns are usually followed by the word "of" and a noun telling who or what belongs in that group.

For example: -

1. a council of 'board members' 'board members' (noun) are part of a council.
2. a troop of 'soldiers' 'soldiers' (noun) are part of a troop.
3. a panel of 'experts' 'experts' (noun) make up a panel.
4. a leap of 'leopards' 'leopards' (noun) are part of a leap.

Animate and Inanimate Collective Nouns:
Collective nouns can be animate or inanimate. Animate nouns refer to things that are living. Some examples are words like flock, pack, pride, pod, colony, swarm, school and herd. Inanimate nouns refer to things that are not living.

1. A trip of goats.
Trip is an animate collective noun.

2. A fleet of ships.
Fleet is an inanimate collective noun.

Read the following example phrases. Here, each collective noun is underlined.

a line of people a litter of cubs
a cast of hawks a tribe of natives
a hive of bees a troop of baboons
a herd of cattle a shoal of squid

Some collective nouns that describe groups of animals can be used for more than one group of animals. For example, the collective noun "herd" can be used to describe a group of cattle, buffalo, moose, deer, elephants, and other animals.

What Verb To Use With a Collective Noun?
Collective nouns can be tricky to pair with verbs. They can often appear to be plural when in fact they are singular. Nouns and verbs must be in agreement to make an accurate sentence. Most collective nouns use a singular noun instead of a plural noun. This means that they require a singular verb.

Read the examples below. Here, the collective nouns and the verbs are shown in bold.

1. A colony of citizens settled this area long ago.
2. The beautiful bride carried a bouquet of lilies.
3.  A hive of bees buzzed around the tree.
4. A lodge of beavers jumped on the wood from the trees.

Here, each singular verb .ie., settled, carried, buzzed and jumped, agree with the respective singular collective noun, i.e., colony, bouquet, hive and lodge. © 2014. All Rights Reserved.