This is just a simple question, but I was wondering about this. I would think "herd" is the subject here, and since a herd can't eat (only an individual cow can), would I need to rearrange this sentence to be accurate?

If this is a correct sentence, what if I changed it to "There was a herd of cattle all eating grass"? Does that make a difference?

  • No need. There was (a herd) of (cattle eating grass). – phoog Jul 11 '15 at 4:09
  • Why do you think that "all eating grass" can modify cattle but "eating grass" can't? – deadrat Jul 11 '15 at 4:10
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    The audience applauded. The crowd yelled. The fleet sailed. The flock flew. The chorus sang. If all (or at least the majority) of the group is doing it, the action can be attributed to the group. – Jim Jul 11 '15 at 6:26
  • It's fine the way it is, though it would be more common to say "There was a herd of cattle grazing." – Hot Licks Jul 11 '15 at 12:20

Consider what happens when the herd is sleeping. This doesn't mean that every cow is asleep, merely that sleep is the herd's current activity. Doing the same thing at the same time is the whole point of a herd. If a cow decides to travel while others are eating, it stops being a part of the herd--the herd is still eating.

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