Grammar Patterns

Collective nouns

1 Collective count nouns

Some collective nouns are count nouns, that is, they have both singular and plural forms like any count noun. The only thing that distinguishes them from ordinary count nouns is the fact that when they are used in the singular their verb may be either singular or plural. When they are used in the plural, of course, their verb is always plural.These nouns are labelled N-COUNT in the Collins Cobuild English Dictionary, with the added information '[with sing or pl verb]'.
In places such as Washington and Brussels a fast-growing army of business lobbyists is working for tougher laws.
As far as his army of fans around the world are concerned, his music is as fresh as ever.
Television splits people up but in the theatre the audience is there with the actors and people come together for an event.
The audience are instructed to put their chairs in a large circle with access for the actors at each corner.
No matter what the result of the election, the committee is convinced the reforms will go ahead.
The general committee are due to sit down for three days later this month to examine their own structure.
When we stop, a few people timidly begin to gather around us, then the crowd begins to grow.
Outside, the gates have opened and the crowd are piling in.
In my view, the Australian electorate believes utterly in the art of political argument.
Now back to the economy, how discouraged did the electorate seem to be about the economy?
In many cases going out for a meal is one of very few occasions when the whole family does sit down together to eat.
The Beaton family are planning on a trip to Guyana next month.
It's our duty to make sure that the next government does not duck the decisions it must take if Britain is to be a success again.
The government are to carry out a review of the Shops Act in the autumn.
Gradually, the middle class has swollen and Hong Kong has become a sophisticated, independent and prosperous community.
The middle class feel culturally excluded while the poor are totally alienated.
It can sometimes take many years before the medical profession is prepared to accept new methods of diagnosing and treating illnesses.
The medical profession know more about female fertility than male fertility.
Our teaching staff is highly-skilled in teaching the latest American business terminology, practices and etiquette.
The staff accuse him of running the paper in an over-ambitious and authoritarian manner.
Yesterday, the jury decided the trio was guilty of attempted murder, robbery and firearms charges.
The trio were temporarily barred from playing by the league for unruly behaviour at a training camp.
  • aircrew
  • aristocracy
  • army
  • audience
  • band
  • brigade
  • cabin crew
  • cast
  • chapter
  • command
  • commission
  • committee
  • community
  • company
  • congregation
  • congress
  • consortium
  • cortege
  • coterie
  • council
  • couple
  • coven
  • crew
  • crowd
  • diplomatic corps
  • electorate
  • family
  • fauna
  • field
  • fire brigade,
  • fire department
  • fire service
  • flock
  • flora
  • foursome
  • front bench
  • gaggle
  • garrison
  • government
  • ground crew,
  • ground staff
  • group
  • hierarchy
  • high command
  • junta
  • jury
  • lower class
  • mafia
  • middle class
  • military
  • multitude
  • opposition
  • panel
  • people
  • press corps
  • profession
  • quartet
  • school
  • school board
  • squadron
  • staff
  • studio audience
  • subcommittee
  • swarm
  • team
  • technocracy
  • think-tank
  • town council
  • treasury
  • tribe
  • tribunal
  • trio
  • troop
  • troupe
  • upper class
  • working class
  • working group
  • working party
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