Collective Noun vs Common Noun: Difference and Comparison

Any language starts from giving names to objects and learning what they are called in a particular language.

Common nouns and collective nouns are also two parts of speech to help a person learn differentiation between multiple classes of objects.

Learning nouns is the initial stage of learning a foreign language, and a person must know all types of nouns.

Key Takeaways

  1. A common noun is a general name given to a person, place, thing, or idea, while a collective noun is a word used to refer to a group of people, animals, or things.
  2. Collective nouns are singular in form but refer to a group, whereas common nouns can be singular and plural.
  3. Collective nouns require a singular verb, whereas common nouns take a plural verb.

Collective Noun vs Common Noun

Collective nouns can be further categorized as either countable or uncountable. Countable collective nouns are those that can be counted, and uncountable collective nouns. A Collective noun refers to a group of individuals, while a common noun is more general and non-specific in nature.

Collective Noun vs Common Noun

When many things are being talked about as a whole, the name given to them is known as a collective noun. It is the name of a particular group of similar units.

After a collective noun, singular verbs are used because they behave as a single entity. Collective nouns are an essential part of speech in English grammar.

Nouns are divided into two categories, and one of them is a common noun. A common noun is simply a name to denote something.

This name could belong to anything or anyone. One rule about common nouns that should be remembered is common nouns are not capitalized. The first letter of a common noun is capitalized only when used at the starting of a sentence.

Comparison Table

Parameters Of ComparisonCollective NounCommon Noun
MeaningA collective noun is used to denote a group made of multiple units that share similar traits. Common nouns are used to indicate individual units, not the group of units.
VerbCollective nouns are always treated as singular, and verbs like is, was, has, are used with them. Common nouns can be both singular and plural and can be completed with any type of verb.
TypesThere are no distinct types of collective nouns. Instead, they are part of a common noun. Common nouns have been divided into five types; countable, uncountable, collective, concrete, and abstract noun.
LevelCollective nouns are considered to be a category of common nouns and situated at a lower level. A common noun is a significant type of noun. It is further classified and has a higher level than a collective noun.
ExampleSome of the examples of the collective noun are police, family, government, band, staff, team, and many more. Some of the examples of common nouns are boy, girl, animal, hill, fountain, city, tree, and many more.

What is Collective Noun?

A noun that appears to be singular, but denotes a group of objects or persons, is called a collective noun. In other words, joint names are a collection of things taken together—for instance, a colony, a team, an army, etc.

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Although a collective noun appears singular, it can be treated as plural under certain circumstances. For instance, family is a singular collective noun, which denotes more than one person sharing a relationship.

In contrast, families are used as a plural collective noun to refer to more than one family.

There is a usual misunderstanding of collective nouns being plural or singular. Consequently, one mainly uses the wrong verb tense with a collective noun.

Thus, it should be kept in mind that although a collective noun refers to more than one thing, it denotes them as one unit.

So, collective nouns are mostly treated as singular except for a few conditions where the members of the given group act individually.

Collective nouns for people, animals, and other objects are widely used as no specific collective noun that can be assigned to all the things.

To epitomize, a bouquet of flowers, a herd of animals, a plague of locusts, a crowd of people, a batch of bread, etc.

What is Common Noun?

A common noun refers to a person or any other object class. Unlike proper nouns, these do not denote any individual, specifically.

For instance, Mercury is the most minor planet. The noun “planet” used in the above example specifies the kind of object that exists in the universe.

On the other hand, the name “Mercury” is not a common name as it makes reference to a specific planet.

As another example, the noun “painter” is a common noun, which refers to an artist who paints pictures or who coats walls or other surfaces as an occupation.

In contrast, the noun “Leonardo Da Vinci” is not a common name as it refers to a specific person or a prominent painter. Car, bus, boy, girl, dog, book, table, chef, umpire, mountain, farm, apple, year, zoo, etc.

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These are a few other examples of common nouns. Common nouns are also used at the place of a subject or object in a sentence, like other nouns.

Common nouns are not capitalized unless they are written at the beginning of the sentence or used as a title.

Otherwise, they are always written in lowercase letters. Besides their usage for person, place, or things, Common names can also refer to intangible things.

For instance, the word “religion” is a common name, but the word “Christian” is not.

common noun

Main Differences Between Collective Noun and Common Noun

  1. A collective noun is a more descriptive and classified version of nouns. On the other hand, a common noun is the basic version of nouns.
  2. The general examples to understand collective nouns are choir, crowd, orchestra, committee, whereas examples of the common noun are woman, planet, laptop, teacher, etc.
  3. A collective noun is studied later, and that’s why it is situated on a lower level. On the other hand, a common noun is studied before, and it has a higher level.
  4. A collective noun is one of the significant types of common nouns and is not divided further. On the other hand, Common noun is divided into five types.
  5. A collective noun refers to a group, and it is supported with verbs used with singular nouns. On the other hand, a common noun can take the form of both singular and plural nouns.

Last Updated : 23 July, 2023

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