Susan’s question: “Could you please let me know when it is appropriate to use the word ‘bunch.’ I often hear it used in conjunction with people, but I find it hard on the ear. Am I just being picky?”
BizWritingTip response: According to the Oxford dictionary, the noun bunch refers to “a cluster of things growing or fastened together.” Therefore, you can talk about a bunch of grapes or flowers growing in bunches. The dictionary also lists a secondary meaning for bunch: “a group or a gang.”
Example (correct but informal)
I am not happy with her bunch of friends.
However, this secondary meaning is regarded as informal. I agree with the BizWritingTip reader who finds the phrasing awkward. So although it could be used in certain circumstances, I do not recommend using bunch when referring to people in the business world. I prefer the word “group.”
I am not happy with her group of friends.
Another informal definition of bunch is “lots.”
So thanks a bunch for the question.