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Mass Nouns

For each plural below, give the corresponding noun for a mass of those objects considered collectively. To help you get started, three examples are given.
Not all of these are precisely analogous to one another.
Correct spelling required.
Quiz by ThirdParty
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Last updated: December 7, 2019
First submittedMay 13, 2013
Times taken21,016
Rating3.03
5:00
Enter mass noun here:
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Individuals
Collective
persons
people
cows
cattle
signs
signage
images
imagery
clothes
clothing
statues
statuary
machines
machinery
houses
housing
weapons
weaponry
wharves
wharfage
shelves
shelving
baskets
basketry
humans
mankind
Individuals
Collective
ancestors
ancestry
ornaments
ornamentation
myths
mythology
citizens
citizenry
bureaucrats
bureaucracy
officials
officialdom
nobles
nobility
clerics
clergy
bishops
episcopate
judges
judiciary
clients
clientele
poems
poetry
psalms
psalmody
Individuals
Collective
periods, commas, etc.
punctuation
necklaces, rings, etc.
jewelry
coins, bills, etc.
money
chickens, ducks, etc.
poultry
caramels, toffees, etc.
candy
socks, stockings, etc.
hosiery
boxer shorts, bras, etc.
underwear
factories, mines, etc.
industry
rodents, flies, etc.
vermin
leaves
foliage
mounted soldiers
cavalry
metal eating utensils
silverware
knives, forks, etc.
cutlery
+2
level 65
Jul 27, 2013
some more potentially acceptable answers: vermin = fauna; foliage = flora; officials = office; psalmody = psalter; poultry = fowl.
+1
level 49
Jul 27, 2013
Okay, I've added "fowl".
+1
level 49
Jul 27, 2013
"flora" refers to whole plants, not to pieces of plants. "psalter" and "office" refer to the places where you find psalms and officials, respectively, not to the psalms and officials themselves.
+1
level 49
Jul 27, 2013
It's true that rodents and flies are fauna, but they also belong to the far more specific category of vermin, so I've chosen not to accept "fauna" as an alternative.
+6
level 61
Dec 25, 2015
what about pests for rodents and vermin?
+2
level 75
Nov 26, 2018
^^That was my first pick.
+2
level 76
Dec 5, 2018
Mine, too. Pest is listed as a synonym for vermin.
+2
level 77
Nov 14, 2019
Pests is a plural noun but not a "mass" noun
+1
level 58
Sep 23, 2016
Both fauna and flora are too vague to be acceptable answers.
+1
level 69
Jul 27, 2013
Only got 19 - found this quite tough for some reason.
+1
level 77
Aug 4, 2013
I got 33. seemed easy to me for some reason.
+4
level 63
Dec 24, 2015
It's because you're so smart.
+5
level 77
Dec 25, 2015
That could be it.
+3
level 35
Jul 27, 2013
You need to have a few more acceptable answers. For example, sweets for candy. I would never call it candy. I'm not totally sure how I even got it. How about herd for cows as well? I liked the quiz, I just think it's quite strict answer-wise.
+3
level 49
Jul 27, 2013
"sweets" is a plural noun, not a mass noun. "herd" refers to a particular configuration of cattle, not to any old mass of cattle.
+1
level 25
Jul 27, 2013
I don't know, I like all kinds of sweets, such as chocolate, boiled sweets, bonbons, candy floss and so on and such.
+1
level 76
Dec 25, 2015
I think it's a difference between American English and British English. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.) What we call candy, they call sweets..
+1
level 65
Dec 27, 2015
I agree. In the UK we don't really use the word 'candy', whereas sweets is a general term for any type of confection. (Happy memories of visiting the sweet shop as a child!) I tried sweets first but then tried candy, knowing that this site tends to favour US English.
+1
level 27
Dec 28, 2015
That depends on whether you only accept US English. For us Brits, sweets would be the preferred form.
+2
level 48
Apr 28, 2016
Does it accept confectionary? I got candy but agree I would never use the word myself to talk about sweets.
+1
level 71
Feb 25, 2017
Glad you accepted "confectionery"...More likely to hear "lollies" than sweets or candy here
+1
level 68
Jan 27, 2019
But candy in English is a specific type of sweet and therefore not an acceptable answer at all. Only in American does it refer to sweets as a whole.
+1
level 76
Jan 29, 2019
There are herds of many kinds of animals. Cattle is specific to cows, however in many of the Regency romance novels I read, the dashing, rich noblemen of the early 1800s often referred to their horses as their cattle, so apparently it wasn't always specific to cows. (I'm assuming that's no longer the case in Britain.)
+1
level 71
Jul 27, 2013
Good Job. Interesting and tougher than I would have expected. Only got 17. I too entered fowl prior to poultry.
+2
level 71
Jul 27, 2013
Fowl should definitely be acceptable for ducks and chickens. Psalter should be accepted for psalms. And I think bishopry is appropriate for bishop.
+1
level 49
Jul 27, 2013
I can't find "bishopry" in any of my favorite dictionaries.
+2
level 59
Dec 24, 2015
I'm familiar with the word "bishopry." And while I don't wish to malign your favorite dictionaries, it took me less than two minutes online to find several uses of the word from texts more than a century old.
+1
level 71
Oct 2, 2016
Bishopric is definitely not right, as a) it refers to the area under a bishop's authority, like a diocese, and b) it's not only NOT a mass noun, it's not even a plural noun. It's a singular noun – you can talk about multiple bishoprics.
+1
level 76
Dec 5, 2018
I'm familiar with bishopry and found it in several dictionaries. However, it simply means the office of a bishop, and doesn't seem to be a mass noun.
+1
level 60
Jul 27, 2013
Episcopacy. Psalter.
+1
level 49
Jul 27, 2013
Okay, I've added "episcopacy".
+2
level 73
Jul 27, 2013
Lots of room for argument in this quiz, but overall I liked it.
+1
level 20
Jul 29, 2013
Nice quiz, it really makes you think.
+1
level 15
Jul 31, 2013
I just for some reason could not work out how to spell bureacracy or clientele. I like the quiz, though.
+1
level 73
Mar 15, 2018
Still can't work out "bureaucracy", apparently.
+2
level 50
Jul 31, 2013
How about kine for cows?
+1
level 49
Jul 31, 2013
Okay.
+1
level 77
Aug 4, 2013
Never heard of "officialdom" but... seems like there are lots and lots of other potential answers that could go there, many of which I tried and were not accepted. Fun quiz, though.
+1
level 55
Apr 21, 2014
I got wharfage!
+1
level 78
May 8, 2014
Strange quiz, I didn't really understand what you were asking for, and since the average is only 16, I'm probably not the only one... of course, now that I see the answers, it seems rather simple and I kick myself.
+1
level 82
May 31, 2014
Nice original quiz. Ornaments are really just knick knacks or kitschy trash though :)
+1
level 43
Jun 14, 2014
Pestilence should be acceptable for vermin.
+1
level 49
Jun 14, 2014
"Pestilence" tends to refer more to diseases than to rats.
+1
level 70
Nov 14, 2019
How about pests for vermin? Pests could be a lot of things, like your neighbors, for example. But it wouldn't be wrong to say that rats and flies are pests.
+1
level 65
Dec 24, 2015
Missed 3. I can live with that.
+4
level 59
Dec 24, 2015
what about confectionery for sweets?
+1
level 71
Oct 2, 2016
You actually have a very good point, and I second it!
+1
level 47
Dec 24, 2015
I tried population for citizens. Never heard of citizenry. But I guess you learn something new everyday...
+4
level 68
Dec 24, 2015
Footwear for socks and stockings? And shouldn't cutlery work for both of the last two?- they're basically the same.
+3
level 54
Dec 24, 2015
flatware?
+1
level 81
Dec 24, 2015
Great quiz! It was super challenging but really fun :)
+1
level 79
Dec 24, 2015
Here are a few that I thought of that fit the criteria that are not on the acceptable list: clothes-wardrobe, weapons-artillery or battery, humans-anthropology, cows-herd, images-pictorial, eating utensils-flatware. To a lesser extent: citizens-demography
+1
level 71
Oct 2, 2016
I think you don't quite have the gist of the quiz, sf49ers. The criteria is that the answer has to be descriptive of ALL the members of the clue, everywhere. So for instance, "clothing" covers *all* the clothes on the whole of planet Earth (and beyond!), but "wardrobe" does not – it only covers one person's/entity's collection of clothing. You can form the plural of wardrobe, but not of clothing. Ditto for a herd of cows. Some of your other suggestions don't work because they are either the wrong part of speech or just the wrong definition: pictorial is an adjective, anthropology and demography are the *studies* of people and of population statistics, respectively, not actual collective nouns describing anything. Artillery and battery refer to guns only, not *all* types of weapons. Anyway, I hope you see the point now. But I do agree with you on flatware as an alternative for cutlery!
+1
level 79
Dec 24, 2015
houses-neighborhood or suburbia
+1
level 82
Dec 28, 2015
Or village or town or city or... The question is about houses in general, not in any particular place.
+1
level 65
Dec 24, 2015
Could you please accept sweets for candy? In the UK, candy is something very specific (basically just sugar), whereas what you have listed would be called sweets.
+1
level 61
Dec 24, 2015
Quick trick: (All) / (All of) / (All the) / (The entire) ____, or with different similar starts, (no plural) must refer to every unit of the individual thing. If it is only every unit within a limited scope, that limited scope should be inherited from the original thing, not implied separately by the collective term. e.g. 1: 'All cattle', not 'all herd'; 'herd' implies a limited spatial proximity that cows don't inherently have e.g. 2: 'The entire citizenry'; while this refers only to citizens of a particular thing (which may be the universe anyway), the term 'citizen' implied that it was of a particular thing, so this is fine. e.g. 3: 'The entire ancestry'; this lacks information on scope - whose ancestors? But that information is lacking when not provided in the original term 'ancestor' as well: 'The ancestor'. One could alternatively speak of 'my ancestor' or 'my entire ancestry'. Other than this requirement, try to keep scope small to avoid being vaguer than the quiz intended
+1
level 76
Dec 25, 2015
Additional collective nouns for bishop include bench, sea, and psalter. Great quiz. Learned some new things.
+1
level 76
Dec 5, 2018
Lol, I meant see, not sea. Surprised my family member on here didn't see that and rip me a good one.
+2
level 70
Dec 28, 2015
Accept flatware for silverware?
+1
level 72
Dec 29, 2015
I kept trying "armory" instead of "weaponry". Luckily I figured it out at the last second.
+1
level 62
Jan 6, 2016
Cool quiz! I spent way too much time trying to figure out what kind of utensils eat metal, but that's just me.
+2
level 45
Feb 15, 2016
I also would appreciate if you accepted flatware in addition to silverware - silverware is a specific type of flatware (made of silver).
+2
level 51
Jul 27, 2016
Pests seems like a good fit for the rats, flies question as well. Also I kept trying to spell cavalry as calvary. Oops
+1
level 52
Nov 14, 2019
Pests is not a mass noun
+1
level 72
Sep 14, 2016
I do think candy is not a term used in UK, and I would have thought confectionery would be an entirely acceptable alternative.
+2
level 36
Mar 1, 2017
Can you accept lollies for candy?
+1
level 52
Nov 14, 2019
Not a mass noun
+1
level 44
Apr 14, 2017
you should also accept "utensils" for "forks, knives, etc."
+1
level 52
Nov 14, 2019
Not a mass noun
+1
level 43
Aug 22, 2017
Good quiz! Greatly varying levels of difficulty. Episcopate is really hard unless you know your stuff about churches.
+1
level 67
Nov 17, 2017
Cool idea, but you shouldn't be so strict about allowing different words that mean basically the same thing, like herd for cows, pests for vermin, etc. It basically turns this into a game of "what word am I thinking of?"
+1
level 64
Dec 7, 2017
Among the most poorly conceived quizzes on the site, imo.
+1
level 63
Jan 1, 2018
I beg to differ, though for a moment I was wondering what utensils eat metal!!
+2
level 40
Feb 3, 2018
could you accept sweets instead of candy? I'm in the UK and whilst candy isn't unheard of we more commonly would refer to them as sweets
+2
level 27
Jun 27, 2018
Please allow 'sweets' for 'candy'. Not all of us are American.
+1
level 79
Jul 4, 2018
Aww, I was really hoping the one for psalms would be "psalmistry."
+1
level 61
Jul 21, 2018
what are knives, forks etc if not metal eating utensils?
+2
level 49
Aug 27, 2018
How about leaves -> canopy?
+1
level 63
Dec 5, 2018
I understand not accepting "utensils" for fork/knife/etc., because a utensil is technically any kind of tool. But what about flatware?
+1
level 57
May 29, 2019
Suggest accepting 'sweets' for caramels, toffees, etc as candy is only US. Also 'wardrobe' for clothes.