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I know that "pack" is reserved for some socially unacceptable stuff like theft etc. Also, a bunch is a group of things that are connected 'a bunch of grapes'. A pack is a group of things that have been packaged together 'a pack of cards'.

Nevertheless, I am not quite sure which which collocations below are natural and idiomatic and whether if they all work, there is any significant shades of meaning between them:

a. A bunch of fools.
b. A pack of fools.

c. A bunch of yes-men.
d. A pack of yes-men.

e. A bunch of thieves.
f. A pack of thieves.

To me, each case in every set is a precise equivalent for the other case in the same group. However, I have always taken them with a grain of salt and that was why I decided to bring a question up here. Please do me a favor and explain the nuances between them (if they exist,) otherwise please let me know whether I have been right taking them as interchangeable collocations.

PS. I know other applications and semantic prosodies of each word listed above e.g. a pack of wolves etc.

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  • I know that "pack" is reserved for some socially unacceptable stuff like theft etc. Where did you get this information from? – Dhanishtha Ghosh Nov 17 '20 at 21:50
  • I read it in a web page once DG, but I cannot recall were! Unfortunately, I had not the same wording of the paragraph in my question, if not I could search it and provide you with the link here. – A-friend Nov 17 '20 at 22:29
  • "Pack" can also refer to a group of animals, particularly wolves. – Gort the Robot Nov 18 '20 at 3:30
  • @A-friend That would be very kind of you. I particularly pointed it out because we cannot acknowledge a word simply because it relates with some bad stuff, or is majorly used in such contexts, and hence could be termed as socially unacceptable. We should always keep our mind open towards alternatives. And "pack" is not at all unacceptable stuffy word, because we associate it with many animals. And animals are way better than humans. Pardon my philosophical talk. – Dhanishtha Ghosh Nov 18 '20 at 10:57
  • I one hundred percent agree with you DG. That's my philosophical sentiment as well. Just as a side note, I think "pack" is almost always refers to some wild animals which live and hunt together. This is how I think about its register. ;) – A-friend Nov 18 '20 at 13:00
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To me, pack implies a common purpose or goal between the members of the group. Bunch is more just describing that they are together, but in a more haphazard way.

For example, in a jail you may find a bunch of thieves because they were all caught for different reasons. On the other hand, a pack of thieves are all working together.

The connotation is similar for the other examples, though perhaps more abstract than with thieves. A pack of yes-men suggests that they may all be yes-men for the same reason, or have conspired to be yes-men all together. A group of fools would be more likely called a bunch than a pack since it doesn't make much sense to all be foolish to accomplish a shared goal.

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