How often do we use collective nouns?

The common collective nouns are used frequently but how often do we use the rarer ones?  I got to thinking about this after we had been for our early morning walk and saw a (collective noun) of swans.

blackSwans1We ruminated on what the collective noun should be and came to the conclusion that it would either be a bevy or a flock. Anyway that was what we decided on until we had the chance to look it up in an old text book of mine.

The book is called The New First Aid in English by Angus Maciver

and it was the more recent version of a book I used while a pupil at school in Scotland – that book was called First Aid in English.

The page we referred to was Group terms or collections ( animate and inanimate).

collective nounsWe also referred to the harder examples but there was no mention of swans.

collective nouns more difficult

We resorted to the internet and there found our answer.


I think my favourite is a drift of swans. swans


5 thoughts on “How often do we use collective nouns?

  1. I like a drift of swans – sounds very peaceful and elegant – that is until they start their honking 😉

  2. I’m liking the drift of swans too – I’m going to find a way to use that in a sentence tomorrow! It’s an interesting post too. I dont know where some people get such good ideas for posts from – you’ve inspired me tonight.

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