The Thinking Quill

Bonjewer mes enfants terribles.

It is one. Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham, novelist, raconteur, social commentator, and world traveller, best famed for my seminal science fiction ‘Fatswhistle and Buchtooth’. My life is a procession of tastes, sounds and smells – of which those as limited as your little selves can never hope to be cognisant. But I think of you – even in the social whirl of my new-found sexual liberty I can still find time for those who hunger for my words of wisdom.

Yes my pale and thirsty ones, you need not fear abandonment, your beloved pedagogue and mentor is still here. Here to tackle your little grammar issues with a light hand and a sharp stick. Attend carefully to my words of wisdom as there will be questions later, and those found wanting will be spending time on the naughty step with sore botties.

One of the questions that seems to plague the minds of innocents such as yourselves is the proper way to refer to more than one of anything. Oh, how I hear you squeak with excitement. Oh, how damp are your palms. How your little hearts do go pitty-pat with excitement. But settle down my little ones whilst one inculcates you into the mysterious world of the group noun.

How to Write Right  – Lesson 2. The Write Group Noun

Even those with such paucity of education as is provided within our state system must be aware that there is such a thing as a group noun – a.k.a a collective noun. You will even have heard of some, like a gaggle of geese, an exaltation of larks, a murder of crows, and an unkindness of ravens. Looking at this exemplar in quartet firm you will surely notice that the group noun takes into account the popular perception of some facet of the behaviour, sound, or character of the creatures it is describing. Hence a daylight robbery of estate agents.

Herewith a short glossary of helpful group nouns for you to exploit and export to your own writing.

An alligator of tabloid journalists
A Botox of daytime TV presenters
A disagreement of wedding guests
A dissonance of amateur musicians
An elocution of Radio 4 presenters
A fabrication of politicians
A flop of footballers
An irritation of yummy mummies
A perspiration of gym bunnies
A perversion of 1970s disc jockeys
A raucousness of rugger players
A screech of sopranos
A slapfest of adult bridesmaids
An understatement of British Males
A wrinkle of cheap tailoring

One could continue…. but.

Even to minds as understretched as yours, it should be obvious that there will not always be a convenient group noun for your purposes.

The advice in that case. Make one up. As in yourselves – a credulousness of pupils.

Until next. Try not to make too much of a mess of your notebooks. A nastiness of naughty steps awaits those with blotched pages!

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

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