Definition of collective noun in English:

collective noun

Syllabification: col·lec·tive noun

noun

Grammar
  • A noun that denotes a group of individuals (e.g., assembly, family, crew).
    More example sentences
    • What these two would-be grammar gurus are talking about here is mass nouns, not collective nouns.
    • In American usage, a collective noun takes a singular verb when it refers to the collection considered as a whole, as in The family was united on this question.
    • I've always thought of elite as a collective noun - when people talk about ‘an elite,’ I assume they're referring to particular group and not simply a person who has elite characteristics.

Usage

Examples of collective nouns include group , crowd , family , committee , class , crew , and the like. In the US, collective nouns are usually followed by a singular verb ( the crowd was nervous ), while in Britain it is more common to follow a collective noun with a plural verb ( the band were late for their own concert ). Notice that if the verb is singular, any following pronouns must also be singular: the council is prepared to act, but not until it has taken a poll . When preceded by the definite article the, the collective noun number is usually treated as a singular ( the number of applicants was beyond belief ), whereas it is treated as a plural when preceded by the indefinite article a ( a number of proposals were considered ). See also number (usage).

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