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What is a collective noun?

 

Definition
 

A collective noun is a noun that refers to a group of entities that may be considered either as individuals or as one larger entity.

Discussion
 

A collective noun may

 
  • agree grammatically with the verb either as a singular noun or as a plural noun, and
  • take either a singular or plural pronoun.
Examples (English)
 
  • Club

    Examples:

    It is a large club.

    They are a large club.

  • Gang

    Examples:

    The gang’s all here.

    The gang are all here.

Generic
  A collective noun is a kind of
 
Sources
 

Crystal 1980 68

 

Hartmann and Stork 1972 41

 

Pei and Gaynor 1954 41

 

Mish 1991 259


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