Ask the Editor
Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
Prides of Lions: When Collective Nouns are Plural
Friday January 17th 2020
Can we say prides of lions or herds of cattle? — Uma, India

It is fine to say "prides of lions" and "herds of cattle" if you have more than one pride or herd.


Collective nouns, like pride and herd, are singular nouns that refer to a group of things, people, or animals. Below are some sentences using collective nouns in bold.

  • A flock of birds flew overhead.
  • They prepared the fleet of ships for the voyage.
  • She brought a pile of cookies out to the family room for the kids.
  • He taught a small class of 12 students.
  • They rescued a litter of kittens from the alley.


In the above examples, each collective noun is singular, but it is possible to use plural collective nouns as long as you are talking about two or more different groups of things, people, or animal.

  • They watched two flocks of birds cross paths.
  • There were eight teams of athletes competing at the national level.
  • She taught three classes of 30 students each at the local community college.
  • The dog gave birth to three separate litters of puppies in her life.
  • The veterinarian visited two herds of cattle to make sure they were healthy.
  • Two prides of lions live in this region of the plains.


I hope this helps.


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