Collective noun – nom collectif


Let's Define It!

What's a *collective noun*?

collective noun (un nom collectif in French) is a word (noun) that, despite being in the singular form, represents a group of entities (people, animals or things), thus highlighting its plurality.

For example, the nouns une foule (crowd) or un groupe (group)  or un troupeau (cattle) are collective nouns.

Collective nouns can be used on their own (see examples above) or with a complement as in the following:

  • une foule de personnes / a crowd of people)
  • un groupe de chanteurs / (a groupe of singers)
  • un troupeau de vaches / a herd of cows 

In French, verbs employed with collective nouns can be in the singular or plural forms depending on whether the speaker focuses on the group itself or on the various elements within the group.


Let's Pronounce It!

What does it sound like in French?


Let's Have an Example or Two!

Can a little reinforcement do the trick?

Below, you will find some examples of collective nouns. They are underlined for your convenience.

  1. une équipethe team
  2. une assiette de légumes / a plate of vegetables
  3. une archipel d'îles / an archipelago  of islands
  4. un troupeau de brebis
  5. une file de voitures (queue of cars)


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