Is Collective Noun Plural or Singular (7 Important Facts)


In this article we’re going to dive deeper into the topic and try to answer the question “Is Collective Noun Plural or Singular?”, since in only a few cases can they be in the plural form.

Collective nouns are countable nouns that usually function in the singular form. They represent a large group of people and things.

Can collective nouns be plural?

Yes, collective nouns can be plural, but only in some cases. Collective noun, even though represent a group of things and individuals aren’t actually plural in nature.

Example 1- This family of four has been living here for ten years.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘family’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “had” which indicates singularity.

Example 2- That family of three are taking separate cars to the event.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘family (of three)’ is used.
  • However, the entities that the collective noun represents over here are functioning separately.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “are” which indicates plurality.

When are collective nouns plural?

Collective nouns can only be plural when the entities that are a part of said collective noun are working individually. Apart from this exception, collective noun function in a plural form in only some, if not all cases.

Example 1- The team of players is going to the stadium together.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘team’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “is” which indicates singularity.

Example 2- The team of players are gearing up for a rematch.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘team (of players)’ is used.
  • However, the entities that the collective noun represents over here are functioning separately.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “are” which indicates plurality.

Which collective nouns are plural?

There are quite a few collective nouns in the English Language that may function in a plural form. Not all, but a few collective nouns function in the plural from.

Example 1- The happy couple is just about to arrive.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘couple’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “is” which indicates singularity.

Example 2- The couple have been living in different countries for a few months now.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘couple’ is used.
  • However, the entities that the collective noun represents over here are functioning separately.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “have” which indicates plurality.

Which collective nouns are always plural?

There are no collective nouns that are always inherently plural. Some collective nouns can be turned into plural by adding ‘-s’ at the end of them, just like any other noun in the English Language.

Example 1- This particular audience is tough to entertain.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘audience’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “is” which indicates singularity.

Example 2- The audiences have spoken by not watching the film in theaters.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘audiences’ is used.
  • However, a ‘-s’ has been added at the end of the collective noun itself.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “have” which indicates plurality.

Can collective nouns be singular?

Yes, most collective nouns can be and are singular in nature. They usually take a singular form since the noun itself is singular in function and only represents a large group of things in a concise manner.

Example- We were able to see a range of mountains from the flight.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘range (of mountains)’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the article “a” which indicates singularity.

When are collective nouns singular?

Almost all collective nouns function in a singular form. Collective nouns, by nature are singular and are usually qualified by a singular verb form.

Example- They witnessed a gaggle of geese swimming on the lake.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘gaggle (of geese)’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the article “a” which indicates singularity.

Which collective noun can be either singular or plural?

There are a few collective nouns that can be either singular or plural. It usually depends on the context they’re being used in.

Example 1- The herd is running behind the farmer.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘herd’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “is” which indicates singularity.

Example 2- The herd of cows are grazing on different parts of land.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘herd (of cows)’ is used.
  • However, the entities that the collective noun represents over here are functioning separately.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “are” which indicates plurality.
Is Collective Noun Plural
Is Collective Noun Plural

Singular collective noun examples

  1. Hive of bees- A hive of bees has been living in our backyard without our knowledge.
  2. Pride of lions- We spotted a pride of lions on our jungle safari.
  3. Choir of singers- A choir of singers has gathered on the amphitheater.
  4. Army of men- An army of men has been deployed to a different base.
  5. Batch of cookies- I baked a batch of cookies for my guests.

Singular collective noun example explanations

 

1.     Hive of bees- A hive of bees has been living in our backyard without our knowledge.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘hive’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “has” which indicates singularity.

2.     Pride of lions- We spotted a pride of lions on our jungle safari.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘pride’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the article “a” which indicates singularity.

3.     Choir of singers- A choir of singers has gathered on the amphitheater.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘choir’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “has” which indicates singularity.

4.     Army of men- An army of men has been deployed to a different base.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘army’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the article “an” which indicates singularity.

5.     Batch of cookies- I baked a batch of cookies for my guests.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘batch’ is being used as it was meant to.
  • It is being used as a collective, that is, a single entity.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the article “a” which indicates singularity.

Plural collective noun examples

  1. Orchestra- The orchestra of musicians are rehearsing for their next show.
  2. Staff- The staff have been taking different shifts.
  3. Cast- The cast of actors are getting ready for the stage.
  4. Flock- The flock of sheep are running around on the meadow.
  5. Pack- The pack of wolves have been wandering the woods.

Plural collective noun example explanations

1.     Orchestra- The orchestra of musicians are rehearsing for their next show.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘orchestra’ is used.
  • However, the entities that the collective noun represents over here are functioning separately.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “are” which indicates plurality.

2.     Staff- The staff have been taking different shifts.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘staff’ is used.
  • However, the entities that the collective noun represents over here are functioning separately.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “have” which indicates plurality.

3.     Cast- The cast of actors are getting ready for the stage.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘cast’ is used.
  • However, the entities that the collective noun represents over here are functioning separately.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “are” which indicates plurality.

4.     Flock- The flock of sheep are running around on the meadow.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘flock’ is used.
  • However, the entities that the collective noun represents over here are functioning separately.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “are” which indicates plurality.

5.     Pack- The pack of wolves have been wandering the woods.

  • In the above written example, the collective noun ‘pack’ is used.
  • However, the entities that the collective noun represents over here are functioning separately.
  • Hence, it is being qualified by the verb “have” which indicates plurality.

 

Conclusion

Therefore, the answer to the question “Is Collective Noun Plural or Singular?” is that it is mostly singular and plural only in some cases.

Recent Posts