Collective Noun And Compound Noun: 7 Important Facts


Well, in this article we would be seeing various important facts about two kinds of nouns – collective noun and compound noun with the help of related examples and explanations.

Collective noun can be shortly said as a kind of noun that is used to collectively name people, objects or animals. Compound noun in simple terms is a noun that has more than one word (a noun formed by two or more than two words).

Given below are a few sentences which consist of compound nouns and collective nouns in them.

  • 1. Our team was selected to participate in the finals.
  • 2. This class is the most disciplined in the school.
  • 3. Fast food is extremely unhealthy as it can cause various health issues.
  • 4. This flower shop near my aunt’s house sells customized bouquets.
  • 5. A herd of elephants just went this way a few minutes ago.
  • 6. My brother-in-law is in a very good position in the Indian Army.

Let us now identify, analyze and understand the collective noun and compound noun present in each sentence.

1. Our team was selected to participate in the finals.

‘Team’ is a collective noun in this sentence as it is used to name a group of people.

2. This class is the most disciplined in the school.

‘Class’ is the collective noun utilized in this sentence because it is naming a group of students.

3. Fast food is extremely unhealthy as it can cause various health issues.

‘Fast food’ (adjective + noun) is a compound noun as it is formed by joining two separate words ‘fast’ and ‘food’ to name a category of food (a thing).

4. This flower shop near my aunt’s house sells customized bouquets.

‘Flower shop’ (noun + noun) is a compound noun because it consists of more than one word ‘flower’ and ‘shop’ to name a shop (a place). ‘Bouquets’ is a collective noun used in this sentence as it is used to name a group of flowers put together.

5. A herd of elephants just went this way a few minutes ago.

The collective noun used in the above sentence is ‘herd’ because it is naming a group of elephants (animals).

6. My brother-in-law is in a very good position in the Indian Army.

‘Brother-in-law) (noun + preposition + noun) is a compound noun because it is a combination of three words ‘brother’, ‘in’ and ‘law’ to name a person. ‘Army’ is the collective noun used in this sentence because it is used to name a group of soldiers (people).  

Can collective nouns be compound nouns?

The answer to this question is an obvious ‘no’. Collective nouns cannot compound nouns.

Example: The crew in the ship was having great fun singing and dancing.

‘Crew’ is the collective noun in this sentence and it is used to name a group of sailors in the ship and itis not a compound noun as it is not made up of more than one word.

Hence, collective nouns can never be compound nouns.

Why collective nouns and compound nouns are not same?

While collective noun is a single name given to a group or collection of people, objects, things or animals, compound nouns are nouns that are formed by joining two or more than two words to name a person, place, thing or an animal.

Example: We were selected unanimously by the panel of judges yesterday.

In this sentence, ‘panel’ is the collective noun utilized to name the group of judges. ‘Panel’ is a single word and here since it is used to name a group of people (judges), it is a collective noun.

Example: All the participants can stay in the greenroom until you are called for your performance.

‘Greenroom’ (adjective + noun) is the compound noun in the above sentence. ‘Greenroom’ is formed by joining two words ‘green’ and ‘room’ together to name a room (a place) and hence it is a compound noun.

Thus, collective nouns and compound nouns are not the same.

collective noun and compound noun
Collective Noun And Compound Noun Examples

Is there any relation between collective nouns and compound nouns?

All of us know noun is a part of speech that is used to name a person, place, thing or an object. Collective nouns and compound nouns are nothing but two different kinds of nouns. Yes, one common thing or relation between collective nouns and compound nouns is that they both are nouns as they both are used for the purpose of naming individuals, or objects.

Example: Our school choir was highly appreciated by the chief guest.

‘Choir’ is a noun utilized in this sentence, as it is naming people. ‘Choir’ is a single word and it is a collective noun as it is naming a group of singers (people).

Example: I can hear some noise coming from upstairs.

‘Upstairs’ is a noun utilized as it is naming a place. In specific ‘upstairs’ can be called as a compound noun as it formed by two separate words ‘up’ (preposition) and ‘stairs’ (noun) to name a place.

Example: The board of directors is discussing how to increase the output.

‘Board’ and ‘output’ both are nouns as they are both used for the purpose of naming. But however, they are two different kinds of nouns. Yes, ‘board’ is a collective noun as it is utilized to name the group of directors (group of people who do the job of directing in a company).

‘Output’ (preposition + verb) is a compound noun as it formed by combining two separate words ‘out’ and ‘put’ together to name the result of what the company is producing.

Hence, the only relation between both compound noun and collective noun is that both of them are nouns.

Difference between collective nouns and compound nouns

Collective nouns are nouns that have only one word, while compound nouns are made up two or more than two words.

Example: There was a huge crowd surrounding the celebrity when he came for an event.

‘Crowd’ is the collective noun utilized in this sentence to name a group of people. It is to be noted that though collective nouns name a collection or group, they are always single words just like how ‘crowd’ is a single word.

Example: You have to reach the bus stop in ten minutes else, you will miss the bus.

‘Bus stop’ is the compound noun in the above sentence to name a place. ‘Bus stop’ is a compound noun as it is made up of two separate words ‘bus’ (noun) and ‘stop’ (noun) combined together.

Use of collective nouns and compound nouns

The collective nouns and the compound nouns are used for the purpose of naming as both are nothing but two different types of nouns. Collective noun is a single word which is used in naming a group, whereas, compound noun is two or more than two words combined together which is used to name singular or plural person, thing and animal.

Collective noun examples

Following are a few collective noun examples that are used in sentences.

  • 1. You still have to climb a flight of stairs to reach the seminar hall.
  • 2. There are a flock of pigeons that come to our apartment everyday and we feed them grains.
  • 3. The band is all set to release their new album very soon.
  • 4. Keep the bunch of keys in a safe place so that you don’t search for it when needed.
  • 5. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the performance and appreciated it with a standing ovation.

Collective noun examples with explanations

Now we shall how and why these collective nouns are used.

1. You still have to climb a flight of stairs to reach the seminar hall.

‘Flight’ is the collective noun in this sentence and it is utilized to name a group of stairs or steps (things) wholly.

2. There are a flock of pigeons that come to our apartment everyday and we feed them grains.

The collective noun in the above sentence is ‘flock’ and it is utilized here to name a group of pigeons (birds) as a whole.

3. The band is all set to release their new album very soon.

‘Band’ and ‘album’ are the collective nouns in the above sentence. While, ‘band’ is used to name a group of musicians (people) altogether, ‘album’ is utilized to name a group of songs (things) collectively.

4. Keep the bunch of keys in a safe place so that you don’t search for it when needed.

‘Bunch’ is the collective noun in this sentence, which is utilized to name a group of keys (things) collectively as a whole.

5. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the performance and appreciated it with a standing ovation.

‘Audience’ is the collective noun in this sentence which is used to collectively name a group of people who have watched a performance.

Compound Noun Examples

Go through the following sentences and identify the compound nouns in each of them.

  • 1. You are requested to meet the headmistress before attending the test.
  • 2. The heavy rainfall has caused a heavy traffic jam in almost all parts of the city.
  • 3. Mountain climbing has been my long time dream.
  • 4. Both my daughters-in-law are well educated and are working in reputed companies.
  • 5. The hot dog this restaurant sells is very delicious.

Compound noun examples with explanations

We will be now analyzing the compound nouns present in all the above sentences.

1. You are requested to meet the headmistress before attending the test.

Headmistress (noun + noun) is the compound noun utilized in this sentence as it is a combination of two words ‘head’ and ‘mistress’ which is together used to name a person.

2. The heavy rainfall has caused a heavy traffic jam in almost all parts of the city.

‘Rainfall’ (noun + verb) and ‘traffic jam’ (noun + verb) are the compound nouns in the above sentence. ‘Rainfall’ is formed by joining two words ‘rain’ and ‘fall’ to name an event and ‘traffic jam’ is a combination of the words ‘traffic’ and ‘jam’ to name the situation.

3. Mountain climbing has been my long time dream.

‘Mountain climbing’ (noun + gerund) is the compound noun utilized in this sentence because it is a combination of two words ‘mountain’ and ‘climbing’ which is together used to name an activity.

4. Both my daughters-in-law are well educated and are working in reputed companies.

The compound noun here is ‘daughters-in-law’ which is formed by joining three separate words ‘daughters’ (noun), ‘in’ (preposition) and ‘law’ (noun) to denote or name more than one person belonging to female gender.

5. The hot dog this restaurant sells is very delicious.

The compound noun here is ‘hot dog’ (adjective + noun). It is formed by joining two words ‘hot’ and ‘dog’ to name a food item (a thing).

Conclusion

Thus from this art we got to know what are the relations and differences between the two kinds of noun – collective noun and compound noun. While collective nouns are single words used to name a group of people, compound nouns are made up of more than one word and can either name singular or plural people or objects.

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