Collective nouns

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A recent questions inspired me to do a search on collective nouns. You've heard of a flock of sheep, but how about a congress of baboons or a clowder of cats?

edited Sep 10 '13 at 00:07 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

2 answers


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You failed your assignment, sir! 

 

Do it like this... think about your favorite verb in the whole wide world.

Example: absquatulate v. to flee; abscond. 

(Random verb, but proof that you can do it easily.)

 

Now, change it into noun-form. "Absquatulation".

 

Ask yourself, "Who would absquatulate?"

Maybe cowards or octogenarians?  YEAH!

 

"An absquatulation of cowards"

 

NOW USE IT IN A SENTENCE!

"An absquatulation of cowards fled from the fight."

 

I just gave myself an A.

Can you beat me?

 

EDIT:  OH YEAH, Let's put together the other lesson:

"An absquatulation of cowards (is fleeing/are fleeing) from the fight.

They are fleeing separately, individually, so "absquatulation" is being used plurally.

"An absquatulation of cowards are fleeing from the fight."

 

MASTER OF LANGUAGE ARTS:  Use it singularly!

"An absquatulation of cowards, holding hands, is fleeing from the fight."

The participial phrase, "holding hands", made it clear that now they are fleeing TOGETHER, as a group, and so "absquatulation" is being used singularly and must have a singular verb.

link comment edited Sep 10 '13 at 03:11 Aaron Prejean Expert
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I up your animal collectives with a SUPER CONFUSING one.

 

A sloth is one ugly beast, right?

 

Guess what a group of bears is called?

"a sloth of bears"

One animal serving as the collective for a very different animal.

I guess it really isn't an issue since we don't see bears in groups very often!

 

I also love to create my own collective nouns!

"A discombobulation of idiots swarmed the stage."

 

And have you considered using a collective noun as a verb?

"She herded us toward the kitchen!"

 

Assignment:  Come up with a new and crazy collective noun!

link answered Sep 10 '13 at 00:31 Aaron Prejean Expert

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