A collective noun is that word which is used to refer to a group of people, things, or animals. Though, a collective noun represents a group but it denotes that group as a singular unit.
Take a look at the list of most common collective nouns,
Use of Collective Nouns in Example Sentences
1. My team is better than yours.
2. The audience was very much excited for today’s show.
3. The teacher asked one of his students to call upon the next class for the presentation.
In the above examples, ‘team’, ‘audience’, and ‘class’ are known as collective nouns. Each of these collective nouns is singular in appearance but in fact, these collective nouns have more than one person in them. For instance, a team cannot have a single person in it or you cannot imagine an audience having a single person. There must be two or more than two people in it.
Few Rules to use Collective Nouns in Sentences
Remember to use a singular verb form with a collective noun. For example,
• The class goes to the playground.
• The board does something very aggressive, which is unbelievable.
In the above examples, both ‘goes’ and ‘does’ are singular verb forms for ‘to go’ and ‘to do’.
However, collective nouns can be used singular or plural. In this way, you have to be careful while using the same form of collective noun within the whole sentence. For example,
• The family is excited and plans to go for a long trip next weekend. (Correct)
• The family is excited and they plan to go for a long trip next weekend. (Wrong)
• The family are all excited and they plan to go for a long trip next weekend. (Correct)
If you are confused in the above last example sentence then, free to add a word like ‘members‘ to denote each individual person of the respective collective noun. For instance,
• The family members are all excited and they plan to go for a long trip next weekend. (Correct)
1. Your team is going to show its best. (Singular)
• After the training, the team move to their rooms to take rest. (Plural)
2. The class was very busy in preparing the most difficult project. (Singular)
• The class sit peacefully and have waited for the lecturer to join them. (Plural)
As I said above, if you feel any confusion, add a word like ‘members’ for instance, team members, or you can replace the word like, you can replace the word ‘class’ with ‘students’ and vice versa.
It is concluded that a collective noun is such a word which is used to refer to a group of things, people, or animals as a singular unit. These nouns are singular by nature that is why, they require singular verbs. However, when a collective noun is used in a plural form, remember to use plural verb with it.