Determiners : Word order

1st Part
Proper and common nouns

2nd Part
Countable vs. Uncountable Nouns

3nd Part
Collective and compound nouns

Grammar in use

  • Topic : Collective and compound nouns
  • Skills : Grammar


What is a collective noun?

a family

a team

They represent a group and are generally used in the singular form and followed by a verb in the singular.
Sometimes, however, they can be in the singular followed by a verb in the plural, in order to insist on the individuals in the group rather than on the group as a whole; in this case, the pronoun would be ‘they’.

All of the staff were very polite. They were also helpful.
The audience don’t seem to enjoy themselves.
My family are not coming this year.

What is a compound noun?


a steamboat

A compound noun is a noun that is made up of 2 or more words.
It can be in 1 word, 2 or more juxtaposed words, 2 or more words separated by a hyphen(-).
a policeman
a police station
the check-out
the mother-in-law

The first element gives more information about the second element.
a racehorse (a horse that participates in races)
a horse race (a race between horses)

For the plural, there are 3 possibilities:

Possibility 1:Possibility 2:Possibility 3:
if only one element is a noun, this noun will be in the plural.if both elements or neither are nouns, the second one takes the plural form.if one of the elements is „man‟ or „woman‟, both are modified.
passer-by   passers-by
tooth-brush  tooth-brushes
grown-up   grown-ups
gentleman-farmer   gentlemen-farmers
woman-doctor   women-doctors

Answer the following questions