A compendium of the silly, the sublime, and the simply outrageous
Do you remember the distinction between count- and mass-nouns? A count noun, simply speaking, can be quantified. One bicycle, two bicycles. A mass noun, on the other hand, cannot. We have only an aggregation of sugar, oil, gravel, smoke, or cement. Mass nouns are usually quantified by their containers, such as a cup of sugar, a barrel of oil, a wheelbarrow of cement. Try collecting 12 grains of sand, or three salts, or five smokes (unless they’re Camels).
Another oddity in English is the collective noun, as in a battery of barracuda, a chain of bobolinks, or an obstinancy of bison. I quake at the thought of an intrusion of cockroaches in the kitchen or a flock of lice in my scalp. Some collective nouns are poetry in motion, as in a convocation of eagles, a flamboyance of flamingoes, a glint of goldfish, an exaltation of larks, an ostentation of peacocks, or a murmuration of starlings. And imagine hearing a scold of jays or a pandemonium of parrots.
Other collective nouns that might be useful are a belligerence of politicians, an avarice of stockbrokers, or a plenitude of the poor. And finally, give me a hierarchy of Catholics, an ablution of Baptists, and a conflagration of UUs.