A noun that denotes a collection of individuals regarded as a unit.Usage Note:
In American usage, a collective noun takes a singular verb when it refers to the collection considered as a whole, as in The family was united on this question. The enemy is suing for peace.
It takes a plural verb when it refers to the members of the group considered as individuals, as in My family are always fighting among themselves. The enemy were showing up in groups of three or four to turn in their weapons.
In British usage, however, collective nouns are more often treated as plurals: The government have not announced a new policy. The team are playing in the test matches next week.
A collective noun should not be treated as both singular and plural in the same construction; thus The family is determined to press its
Among the common collective nouns are committee, clergy, company, enemy, group, family, flock, public,
Note that collective nouns always refer to people or living creatures. Similar inanimate nouns, such as furniture
differ in that they cannot be counted individually. It is ungrammatical to say a furniture
or a luggage.
These nouns are called mass nouns
or noncount nouns,
and they always take a singular verb. See Usage Note at group.