i stumbled over an english exercise for elementary school in which the pupils were to connect names of animals with their animal group. For example:
lion-pride(of lions), goose-gaggle, dog-kennel, cat- clutter, ostrich-flock...
for me as a non-native that was a tough nut to crack not to say impossible.
now, to all natives of english, what would interest me is:
is this really common knowledge among most people and do you use it in normal conversation or would you rather use e.g. a word like "group" for all of them?
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there are those very educational and fantastic series called 'planet earth'produced by BBC, ARD, Discovery channel, etc. They shows the last wildnesses on the planet. I have seen them in English and all these words appear in the movies: pride, flock, herd, etc.. Actually, I see the movies as a big opportunity to learn about animals. So, the answer to your question is: a native wouldn't use group of lion, a non-native probably, if they don't know the correct word. For me, after getting use to the special words, it would be strange to say group, because it is far too general and not quite correct. These words are in every Primary School Thesaurus, so it is actually common knowledge! As far as these words appear only at CAE or CPE, there is no need to introduce them before. Yesterday, I had my CAE written exam and believe me, pride, flock & Co. are nothing compared with the vocabulary one have to deal withEmotion: smile By the way, a friend of mine is collecting the synonymas for toilet and he is close to 100! No need to go nutsEmotion: smile

Best wishes,

Kathrin, who is of course a non-native with CAE ambitions
Yes, I would say that many are commonly used.

A flock of birds
A herd of cows
A flock of sheep
A gaggle of geese
A pride of lions
A pack of dogs
A pack of wolves
A shoal of fish
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A shoal of fish? I would say a school of fish. Is this a difference betwen British and American fish?

The terms Feebs lists are commonly used. I have never heard "a kennel of dogs" (what if they're wild dogs?) or "a clutter of cats" (who ever sees cats in a group anyway?). Some that I have read in books (an exaltation of larks, a murder of crows, a parliament of owls) are so obscure that I don't know if anyone actually uses them in conversation. Flock (birds, sheep), herd (horses, cows), and pack (dogs, wolves) would be the most useful ones to know.
This is a nice site with lots of terms - including a clutter of cats as well as a comfort of cats and a kindle of kittens. http://www.hintsandthings.co.uk/kennel/collectives.htm
Yesterday, I had my CAE written exam and believe me, pride, flock & Co. are nothing compared with the vocabulary one have to deal withEmotion: smile

hi kathrin,

i could imagine. anyway, i wouldn`t consider myself to be a beginner of english. i guess the more elaborate and sophisticated words are much less of a problem than things you would have learnt at primary school. at least for me thats true. a few weeks ago i flipped through a really demanding english test and found nothing unsolvable. probably because it´s made for foreigners who have a certain level. difficult for me are topics which would be rather childish for a native.

thanks everyone for the informative comments to this threat. i guess i have to learn the most common ones of them.
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A herd of antelope
A colony (swarm, army) of ants
A shrewdness (troup) of apes
A herd (pace) of asses
A culture of bacteria
A cete of badgers
A battery of barracudas
A shoal of bass
A sleuth (sloth) of bears
A colony of beavers
A swarm (cluster, grist, hive, nest) of bees
A flock (congregation, volary, dissimulation, parcel) of birds
A sounder of boars
A herd (gang, obstinacy) of buffalo
A brace (clash) of bucks
A flight (flutter) of butterflies
A caravan of camels
An army of caterpillars
A clowder (clutter) of cats
A herd (drove, drift, mob) of cattle
A brood (peep, clutch) of chickens
A clutch (chattering) of chicks
A bed of clams
A quiver of cobras
A rag of colts
A cover of coots
A kine of cows
A band of coyote
A herd (sedge, siege) of cranes
A float (bask) of crocodiles
A murder (murmuration) of crows
A litter of cubs
A herd of curlews
A cowardice of curs
A herd (bevy) of deer
A pack (kennel) of dogs
A pod of dolphin
A pace of donkeys
A dule (flight, dole) of doves
A paddling (brace, flock, raft—in flight, team, paddling—swimming) of ducks
A convocation of eagles
A swarm (bed) of eels
A clutch of eggs
A herd of elephants
A pod of elephant seals
A gang of elk
A mob of emus
A business of ferrets
A charm of finches
A school (shoal, run, haul, catch, drought) of fish
A swarm (business) of flies
A skulk (leash) of foxes
An army of frogs
A colony of frogs
A gaggle (skein when in flight) of geese
A swarm (cloud, horde) of gnats
A herd (tribe, trip) of goats
A charm of goldfinches
A cloud of goldfish
A band of gorillas
A cluster of grasshoppers
A leash of greyhounds
A down (husk, down, mute) of hares
A cast (kettle) of hawks
An array of hedgehogs
A brood of hens
A hedge of herons
A shoal of herrings
A bloat of hippopotami
A drift (passel, parcel) of hogs
A harras (herd, remuda, string) of horses
A pack (mute, cry) of hounds
A husk of jackrabbits
A band of jays
A smack of jellyfish
A troop (mob) of kangaroos
A kindle (litter) of kittens
A deceit of lapwings
An ascension (exaltation) of larks
A leap (leep) of leopards
A flock of lice
A pride of lions
A plague (swarm) of locusts
A tiding (tittering) of magpies
A sord of mallards
A stud of mares
A richness of martens
A labor of moles
A troop of monkeys
A barren (span) mules
A nest of mice

A shoal (steam, swarm) of minnows
A watch of nightingales
A family of otters
A parliament of owls
A yoke (drove, team, herd) oxen
A bed of oysters
A pandemonium of parrots
A covey of partridges
A muster (ostentation) of peacocks
A litter of peeps
A rookery of penguins
A nide (nye, bouquet) of pheasants
A litter (drove) of pigs
A shoal of pilchards
A wing (congregation) of plovers
A string (drove) of ponies
A pod (herd, school) of porpoises
A run of poultry
A coterie of prairie dogs
A covey (bevy) of quail
A nest (bury) of rabbits
A pack (swarm) of rats
A rhumba of rattlesnakes
An unkindness of ravens
A crash of rhinos
A shoal of roaches
A building (clamor) of rooks
A run of salmon
A family of sardines
A herd (pod, trip) of seals
A shoal of sharks
A flock of sheep
A nest (bed, knot, den, pit) of snakes
A walk (wisp) of snipe
A host of sparrows
A cluster (clutter) of spiders
A dray of squirrels
A murmuration of starlings
A mustering of storks
A flight (gulp) of swallows
A herd (bevy, lamentation, wedge) of swans
A flock of swifts
A sounder (drift) of swine
A spring of teal
A colony (nest, swarm, brood) of termites
A mutation of thrushes
An ambush of tigers
A knot (knab) of toads
A hover of trout
A rafter (raft) of turkeys
A pitying (dule) of turtledoves
A bale (turn, dole) of turtles
A pod of walrus
A nest (herd, pladge) of wasps
A school (gam, pod) of whales
A nest (generation) of vipers
A knob (bunch, trip, plump) of wildfowl
A pack (route, herd) of wolves
A fall of woodcocks
A descent of woodpeckers
A herd of wrens
A zeal of zebras
Oh my goodness so much
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