Is a collective noun formed by adding –ing to the verb stem, used to express commands or directives, or a noun that refers to a group or a collection of elements?

1 Answer

A collective noun is a noun used to group people or things in a descriptive way.


There are some nouns that, by definition, are words for a group; for example, a crowd, a herd, or a bale; for example:
- a crowd of people or a crowd of onlookers;
- a herd of cattle or a herd of antelope;
- a bale of hay or a bale of cotton.

There are some nouns that are not inherently words for a group but can function as collective nouns; for example:

  • I set the table. (not a collective noun)
  • a table of contents (a collective noun)

  • I left my book in school, (not a collective noun)

  • a school of fish (a collective noun)

  • The book is due at the library. (not a collective noun)

  • a book of matches (a collective noun)
  • a library of books (a collective noun)

The -ing form of a verb is called the present participle of a verb .
The present participle functions as a present tense verb.
The present participle functions as a gerund (a verbal noun).
The present participle functions as an adjective.

They were dancing in the moonlight, (verb)
Dancing is my favorite class. (noun)
Those dancing lessons have improved your posture. (adjective)