Collectives

Objective

To explore collective nouns.

Nouns usually refer to one thing, person or animal. If we want to indicate that there are more than one, we use the plural form: books, pupils, horses. But some nouns mean already more than one and therefore they have no plural form. Can you guess the nouns from the description?

  • chickens, geese and ducks kept on a farm for their meat and eggs poultry
  • objects like tables, chairs, beds, cupboards furniture
  • cows and bulls kept as farm animals for their milk and meat cattle

Some nouns are names for things that consist of two equal parts which are joined together. They only occur in a plural form. Can you sort these nouns into two groups and describe the kinds of nouns in each group?

Group 1
Group 2
clippers
glasses
jeans
pants
pyjamas
scissors
spectacles
trunks
trousers

Nouns like the ones below have something in common and are therefore called collective nouns. Can you explain what they have in common? Sort them in to two groups:

 

Group 1
Group 2
army
crew
crowd
family
flock
gang
group
herd
staff
team

This lesson is adapted (with permission) from Words and Meanings: A Systematic Guide for the Teaching of English Vocabulary, by Gabriele Stein.

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