Collective nouns also present challenges in subject-verb agreement. A collective noun names a group of people or things. Examples of collective nouns you often hear in school are class, committee, team, audience, and club.

Watch this video to learn more collective nouns.

Circling back to the previous section and the giraffes, which gather in herds, we’re reminded that not all animals congregate in such humdrum collective nouns. What about a peep of chickens, a shrewdness of apes, an obstinacy of buffalo, a murder of crows, or a pandemonium of parrots? Maybe you know some others, but we’ll limit ourselves to these examples. Here are some tips to make working with collective nouns less tricky:

photo of a sign that reads “Gillman Station, Customer Parking ONLY! All others will towed at the vehicle owners risk and expense!”

Source: Proofread, People! Jeff Youngstrom, Flickr

The herd of giraffes stands proudly.
The herd groom one another in the evening.

The sentence above suggests that the giraffes are acting individually (i.e., one grooming the other) and are not acting in unison.

The members of the team turned in their pompoms.
The giraffe which had been running away from the hyenas stood still.
The herd of reticulated giraffes stands tall.

For a good review of subject-verb agreement, watch this video.