Can you please reopen this question: Collective noun for lightning(s) / thunderbolts

I really think that people were not fair about this question and I really feel like people are being against ideas without concrete reasons.

The question was not primarily opinion based. It was not a writing advice. It is related to English Usage.

I was simply asking a word and provided an example sentence. And I provided a lot of information to clarify. I listened to the advices in the comments and improved the question as well.

The more I clarified the more people became against it. They also up-voted the comments with misleading information and ignored my effort. I asked people to write their comments as a detailed answer but they did not choose to do that.

Am I a lone ranger here? What am I missing here?

Note: There is a similar question asked before which is open and up-voted: Collective Noun for Fire

I even provided much more explanation than that.

Note 2: There are a lot of usages in literature and technical context that can sound ungrammatical to the native speaker. But it is still English. Are we only expecting things that will "sound" grammatical to native speakers and used in everyday speech? Can't we talk about literary and technical usages?

Also, if there is a plural form of lightning out there but we cannot use with a collective noun, then explain why as an answer. Is it so hard to do this? I included this question later also in the question body.

I'm not adamant about using a collective noun. I would accept an explanation as an answer also. I listened to your voice, improved the question as much as possible, but I feel like I'm being misunderstood.

Note3: Isn't this an advanced English site? Why would we be against uncommon usages? or usages in literature? (this is different than writing advice, there is a tag)

As I said, there are similar questions like this asked before and they are open. I really don't understand why this question is being treated differently.

Note4: I would like to hear different voices other than being against the question (or being against me within the opportunity of this topic)

Final note: Thanks for the support.

  • 4
    Strange. The term I commonly hear for this is series or sequence but it normally refers to a set of lightning strikes one after another. The term "lightnings", however, is not commonly accepted outside of limited domain specific uses so all of that nonsense is irrelevant.
    – MrHen
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 20:26
  • 1
    @MrHen: What is "all of that nonsense" that you refer to? Is it nonsense if it is not common? Also, can we use a collective noun for lightning in a technical context then?
    – ermanen
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 20:39
  • "Bolts of lighting". That is all.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 14:46
  • "I would like to hear different voices other than being against the question (or being against me within the opportunity of this topic)" I'd like a Ferrari! I don't know wots got in to you here, ermanen. A zillion people have pointed out the obvious. It is completely bizarre that you have embarked on a "relentless but thoroughly misguided pursuit of esoteric examples of “lightnings” as an attempt to somehow “prove” that lightning can be a count noun." - as everyone has pointed out. I don't know why this question was reopened.
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


Most things in English don’t have dedicated collective nouns that describe only them.

Perhaps still more importantly, mass nouns never have special-purpose collective nouns to describe a collection of them: you cannot have a collection of something that is a mass noun.

Your relentless but thoroughly misguided pursuit of esoteric examples of “lightnings” as an attempt to somehow “prove” that lightning can be a count noun is wasted effort right from the get go, simply because it sounds ungrammatical to native speakers. You need to recognize our authority on this and abandon that path altogether.

What this winds up meaning is that all answers would either have to go inventing things that don’t exist, or be ones which would confuse a native speaker, or which would be using some sort of stylistic circumlocution or metaphor.

None of those paths leads to a single correct answer. They all lead to lists of many possible answers, a sort a verbal beauty pageant with you as the whimsical judge.

Those sorts of questions are a poor fit for the SE format.

  • 5
    @ermanen You “proved” no such thing. If native speakers find it ungrammatical, then you lose the argument no matter what you dig up. And we do. Please stop being stubborn; you must recognize our authority as native speakers and stop looking for loopholes in the letter of the law. There is no collective noun for thunderbolts or for lightning strikes in English either, which means your question can have no right answer. It’s just an opinion-based list question, a subjective beauty contest with no end in sight.
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 18:23
  • 7
    @ermanen This is not about “justice”. It’s about what questions can be reasonably answered in the SE format — and this is not one of those.
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 18:32
  • 1
    I don't agree with you. I explained properly also. Thanks for your opinion.
    – ermanen
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 18:33
  • 1
    +1 for invoking 'authoritah', -1 for 'we'ing yourself.
    – Frank
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 4:25
  • I'm seeing increasing use of this kind of construction, though. For example people talking about "softwares" or "codes" (when they mean programming code, which is a mass noun). Seems to mainly come from our colleagues in India, to whom I mean no disrespect. In truth, I think it's a language-change in progress. Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 11:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .