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In editing a document, I changed a word from a singular form to a plural one, and I want to leave a comment explaining what I did. The comment I wanted to write went something like this: "changed the ??? of this word for consistency".

My first guesses were "plurality" or "multiplicity", but after reviewing the definitions of those, I'm don't think that's quite right.

Any suggestions?

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4  
Funny how this question is tagged with the answer... –  RegDwigнt Jul 19 '12 at 16:04
    
Probably not to OP. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jul 19 '12 at 16:05
    
@RegDwightАΑA "grammatical number"? That's awful. –  Ben Collins Jul 19 '12 at 16:05
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@BenCollins then call it 'number agreement' or 'plurality' or 'unicorns'. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jul 19 '12 at 16:05
    
Whom you call awful? –  RegDwigнt Jul 19 '12 at 16:06

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's called the grammatical number of the noun:

In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions (such as "one", "two", or "three or more").[1]

But you can use number agreement if you're specifically comparing one word's grammatical number to another's.

Also, plurality is in fact an accepted word for this:

In linguistics, plurality or [a] plural is a concept of quantity (i.e., grammatical number) representing a value of "other-than-one".

Take your choice.

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I went with 'grammatical number'. Thanks (and thanks to RegDwight AAA). –  Ben Collins Jul 19 '12 at 16:17
1  
OED's first definition of plurality is The state of being plural; the fact or condition of denoting, comprising, or consisting of more than one, which isn't "linguistics-specific". Personally I think in a linguistics/grammar context (which is what we have here on ELU), plurality would normally be understood to mean the attribute which can have either of the values singular or plural. –  FumbleFingers Jul 19 '12 at 20:47

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