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Collective Noun

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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Noun is the main part of a sentence and one of the most important pillars of English grammar. Noun is the name of thing, place or person in a sentence. A noun can further be classified into proper noun, common noun, collective noun and many more.

Today, our topic of discussion is collective noun. We will discuss how it is different than a regular noun and what is the right way to use it in our everyday language.

Collective Noun:

Where nouns are used to name things, places and people, collective nouns are used to name groups of things, places and people.

Example:

The soccer team plays well together.

In this example, team is a collective noun used to represent a group or cluster of people playing together.

Notice that collective nouns are different from plural forms of nouns. The above example used collective noun team but it paired it with a singular verb plays.

One thing to keep in mind is that as collective nouns represent clusters of people (usually two or more), it might not always use plural forms of verb. The form of verb (whether singular or plural) varies between different collective nouns. Some are used with singular verb while others are used with plural verb.

Example:

The soccer team head to their homes after a tough day.

In the above example, the same collective noun team is used but along with it the form of verb used is plural i.e. headtheir.

How to figure out which form of verb should be used with a particular collective noun? It all depends on the verb or action that is happening in the sentence. If everyone in the group of collective noun is behaving in a same way, singular verb is used. However, if the members of the collective noun are behaving differently or individually in the sentence, the collective noun is used with the plural form of verb.

Example:

Now consider another example;

The committee agrees to start the initiative instantly.

The committee failed to agree upon the initiative and they know that they cannot reach verdict about it today.

The above two examples, both use the same collective noun committee in different ways. In the first example, the members of the committee all agreed about one thing and were on the same page, so the singular verb agrees is used in the sentence.

In the second example however, the members of the committee are not on the same page and everyone is behaving individually so the form of verb used with it is plural i.e. agree.

Some good examples of collective nouns in English language are:

Army/audience/board/cabinet/class/committee/company/corporation/council/department/faculty/

Family/firm/group/jury/majority/minority/navy/public/school/senate/society/team/troupe.

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