A collective noun is a word which we use to define a group or collection of people, animals or things.

Which is/are right?, or are these sentences right?


a pack of wolves is ...

an army of ants is...

a set of buttons is...


a packs of wolves are ...

an armies of ants are...

a sets of buttons are...

PS. What do you call the 'packs' and what do you call the 'wolves'? Is it identifiers?

  • The subject of your sentence is 'a pack', 'an army' etc, and the rest must agree with that. If it's one pack. it's singular, if it's multiple, then plural. The contents of the pack don't influence the rest of the sentence.
    – SF.
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 12:51

1 Answer 1


To the main question, you can use either

A pack of wolves is (or The pack of wolves is)


Packs of wolves are

depending on whether you mean one group of wolves or multiple groups of wolves.

These are just called collective nouns. The special words for different types of animals (a pride of lions, a murder of crows, etc.) are called terms of venery, but this wouldn't apply to other collective nouns like your set of buttons - only to the collective nouns used for various types of animals.

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