Collective Nouns: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

What is a collective noun? How are they different from other nouns? Why does it matter? Read the following lesson to learn what exactly a collective noun is and how it impacts your writing. Don't forget to show what you know with the quiz at the end!

What Is a Noun?

You may remember that a noun is the part of speech that defines people, places, things, and ideas.

Look at the following sentence. Can you find all five of the nouns?

  • On the riverfront, the boys cast a line into the water and wait for a fish to bite.

The nouns in the sentence are: riverfront, boys, line, water, fish.

There are many kinds of nouns, but this lesson will focus on collective nouns.

What Is a Collective Noun?

There is a special type of noun called a collective noun that names a group of people or things. For example, the word 'orchestra' is a collective noun because one orchestra is made up of many musicians: there are many parts to the whole.

Let's see if you can find the example of a collective noun in the following sentences.

  • The team went undefeated last year.

'Team' is the collective noun because one team is made up of many players.

  • The school of fish swirled about near the ocean floor.

'School' is the collective noun because one school is made up of many fish.

  • The Wampanoags, an Indian tribe native to Massachusetts and Rhode Island, were the ones who gave turkey and corn to the pilgrims to have the first Thanksgiving feast.

'Tribe' is the collective noun because one tribe is made up of many people.

  • The girls giggled when they learned that a group of ferrets is called a business.

In this case, a 'business' is a collective noun because it means a group of many ferrets.

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