This tag applies to questions that deal with grammatical number: “singular” versus “plural”, and (rarely) also “dual”.

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190
votes
9answers
104k views

What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym?

For example, if I wanted to write the equivalent of There are many automated teller machines in this city. Would it be There are many ATMs in this city. or There are many ATM's in ...
90
votes
9answers
83k views

What is the plural form of “status”?

What is the plural form of "status"?
79
votes
9answers
18k views

Plural of “Index” - “Indexes” or “indices”?

A table can have one index, or, it can have two or more [...]? Is it indexes or indices? I'm just asking since I've noticed they're both used quite often. Even Wikipedia seems to support both ...
76
votes
5answers
31k views

Why is the word “pants” plural?

We wear a shirt, a jacket but a pair of pants. Why is pants plural?
75
votes
8answers
108k views

Plurals of acronyms, letters, numbers — use an apostrophe or not?

When I was in high school back in the 1970s, I was taught that to make a plural of an acronym, a letter, or a number, one should add an apostrophe and "s". Like I would have written this sentence, "......
68
votes
8answers
9k views

Is -1 singular or plural?

Do we say "-1 thing" or "-1 things"? I am interested in both two things minus one thing(s) and minus/negative one thing(s)
66
votes
5answers
6k views

When does thousand turn into thousands?

My boyfriend and I are arguing whether thousands of miles means 1000+ or 2000+ miles. The first argument is that 1000+ is over 1000 and therefore 'thousands of miles' by rounding up. The other ...
63
votes
11answers
7k views

Is “data” considered singular or plural?

Related to this question and this question. My non-native English speaking friend just asked me: Data is ... or Data are ... I said both but that's because I've been desensitized from reading/...
56
votes
10answers
66k views

Are collective nouns always plural, or are certain ones singular?

I'd say Microsoft have a way of bending the rules and I know that McLaren have won the championship. While this sounds strange, I believe it is correct English (sorry, I'm not native). But when it's ...
54
votes
14answers
28k views

One of us is wrong, aren't we?

I have just learned from what I consider a reliable source, that the following sentence is correct: One of us is wrong, aren't we? I would never in my life have written this, but I am assured ...
51
votes
7answers
7k views

Was “book” to “beek” as “foot” is to “feet”?

"Foot" is a curious word in English because it is pluralized in an unusual way; the "oo" in the word is changed to "ee". Did this once use to be a standard way of pluralizing things in English (or a ...
51
votes
3answers
43k views

What is the plural form of “zero”?

I tried looking on Google, but there are some fairly contradictory results. I thought I'd ask you guys so we could get an authoritative answer on the subject!
43
votes
7answers
8k views

What is the correct plural of octopus?

What is the correct plural of octopus: Octopi? Octopodes? Octopuses? Something else?
43
votes
6answers
5k views

What is the plural of Mrs?

If I were speaking of three sisters, young girls, whose family name was "Holmsworth", I might say The Misses Holmsworth. But if I were speaking collectively of Donald Trump's three wives, the present ...
43
votes
9answers
65k views

“There is/are more than one”. What's the difference?

While adding to an Answer to this question, I needed to use the above phrase, and I suddenly realised I was unsure whether to write "is" or "are". There is more than one way to skin a cat. If there ...
43
votes
8answers
7k views

Why is there no plural indefinite article?

The takes either a singular or a plural subject. A/an only takes the singular. When we pluralize a noun preceded by an indefinite article, we simply drop the article (sometimes replacing it with ...
42
votes
2answers
76k views

“Content” or “Contents”?

Content or contents — when do I use which form? I realize that the one is the plural form of the other, but they seem to be used interchangeably.
38
votes
6answers
10k views

Is it wrong to use the word “codes” in a programming context?

Is it wrong to use the word "codes" in programming context? I shall use these codes.
38
votes
7answers
29k views

Legos not LEGO?

I've seen many people make reference to LEGO as Legos. e.g. "I enjoy playing my Legos". But from my understanding this is incorrect and should be referred to simply as LEGO (in capitals as per ...
37
votes
8answers
8k views

“1 in 10 are” or “1 in 10 is”?

Take the examples: "One in ten children are dyslexic." "One in ten children is dyslexic." "One in ten children has dyslexia." "One in ten children have dyslexia." The "one" is singular so 2 and 3 ...
35
votes
2answers
5k views

If the plural of ‘man’ is ‘men,’ shouldn’t the plural of ‘German’ be ‘Germen’?

What makes these two words so different that 'man' is changed to 'men', but 'German' is changed to 'Germans'?
34
votes
5answers
77k views

What is the proper plural form of 'apparatus'?

Dictionary.com claims that the plural of 'apparatus' is 'apparatuses'. Surely that can't be right... isn't it 'apparati'?
34
votes
4answers
6k views

What does the “s” in “thanks” mean?

I'm teaching English in a non-English-speaking country where plural "s" and third-person "s" get confused a lot with no "s" at all. The dialogue in the textbook was explaining how you should respond ...
33
votes
4answers
166k views

Correct usage of “persons” (vs. “people”)

I had a little fight about persons vs. people. Could you advise if both of the following are correct, if possible with reference to a dictionary? A table for two people please. A table for ...
33
votes
3answers
31k views

Person, Persons, People, Peoples

Can you please clarify the relation and differences between these nouns? For example, is it proper to use "persons" instead of "people"? Are they the same? As I believe that "people" is plural, how ...
32
votes
6answers
115k views

Which is correct, “neither is” or “neither are”?

Bob: "Can I set the font color? Can I customize the text?" Frank: "Neither of these options is available. Sorry!" Is "neither is" always correct or should one use "neither are" in some cases and ...
32
votes
3answers
69k views

Which is correct: “one or more is” or “one or more are”?

Should the phrase be "one or more is...", or "one or more are..."?
30
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there any noun in English which changes the first letter in the plural?

Plenty of nouns change the second letter to become plural (man->men, goose->geese) but does anything change its first letter. I've hunted high and low over the internet, and spent ages browsing the ...
30
votes
4answers
8k views

Pluralization rule for “five-year-old children”, “20 pound note”, “10 mile run”

Why are year, pound and mile in the singular form in the phrases below? five-year-old children 20 pound note 10 mile run Is that because they're acting as adjectives, which are always invariable ...
29
votes
7answers
3k views

Are there any words in English that have a plural with a separate derivation?

There are some irregular plurals in English (child/children, goose/geese), but all of the ones I know of share the same root word. In some languages, there are some irregular pairs where the singular ...
29
votes
1answer
124k views

Difference between “zeros” and “zeroes” [duplicate]

Are there any differences between “zeros” and “zeroes”? Is any of them more correct, more often used, more modern? Are there differences e.g. between British English and American English in the usage ...
28
votes
3answers
10k views

Why is 'sheep' the same when talking about one or more than one?

I am trying to find out why sheep has the plural sheep. I have found different explanations, such as, "it is because they were seen as uncountable, as in 'a herd of sheep'", "because it comes from ...
28
votes
5answers
99k views

Is “there're” (similar to “there's”) a correct contraction?

Q: "Do you have any juice?" A: "Yes, there's some in the fridge." Sounds perfectly fine to me, but: Q: "Do you have any towels?" A: "Yes, there's some in the closet." Does not. I asked ...
28
votes
4answers
8k views

Plural of an initialism that ends with the letter S [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym? I was answering something on Super User and wrote OSes as part of my normal flow without really thinking about it. On a re-...
28
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is “math” always pluralized in British English and singular in American English?

In the U.S. I would study math. In Britain, I would study maths. What gives?
27
votes
7answers
2k views

Why “it’s turtles” not “they are turtles”

It is a third person singular and is used to refer to a thing. If that’s the case, then why do we say: A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on ...
27
votes
6answers
15k views

Types of things vs. types of thing

When speaking precisely or technically, one would say that "Homo erectus and homo sapiens are two species of hominid" rather than "Homo erectus and homo sapiens are two species of hominids." The ...
26
votes
6answers
139k views

Which is correct: “special thanks go to” or “special thanks goes to”?

what is grammatically correct: Special thanks go to Tom... Special thanks goes to Tom... IMHO I'd say thanks is one of those plural nouns which implies it requires go but I'm not sure. It's for ...
26
votes
5answers
99k views

“Do's” and “don'ts” or “do's” and “don't's”?

I am making a list to my children telling them what are some of the things they should do and shouldn't. Under one side is "do", and the other is "don't". Would I write "do's" and "don't's"? Cause ...
26
votes
2answers
144k views

“Any” followed by singular or plural countable nouns?

This question has troubled me for ages despite my several attempts of looking it up in dictionaries or usage books. Do we say, "Do you have any ideas" or "Do you have any idea"? I do see an example ...
26
votes
4answers
15k views

Is two-thirds plural?

Is 2/3 always, sometimes or never plural? E.g. 1a) 2/3 of the pizza were eaten. 1b) 2/3 of the pizza was eaten. 2a) 2/3 of the visitors were men. 2b) 2/3 of the visitors was men. I ...
26
votes
3answers
9k views

What is the optional plural form of a word that ends in “‑y”?

I guess “optional plural” is the correct term. I’m referring to things like It can be found at the following location(s). Please pick up your ticket(s). But how do I do that to a word that ends ...
26
votes
2answers
40k views

A number of questions “has been” or “have been” asked?

Formally, is it correct to write: A number of questions has been asked here. or: A number of questions have been asked here. As a non-native speaker of English, I would prefer the former: ...
25
votes
7answers
24k views

Should we use plural or singular for a fraction of a mile?

I have seen people say both 0.25 mile and 0.25 miles. Should we use plural or singular for a fraction of a mile?
25
votes
4answers
13k views

What do we call the “rd” in “3ʳᵈ” and the “th” in “9ᵗʰ”?

Our numbers have a specific two-letter combination that tells us how the number sounds. For example 9th 3rd 301st What do we call these special sounds?
25
votes
2answers
2k views

Why don't we use the indefinite article with 'software'?

Generally, one doesn't use the indefinite article with a noun because it's plural, but sometimes you get nouns where, for some reason, the indefinite article isn't used even though the noun is ...
24
votes
5answers
2k views

Words that are pluralized in the middle?

This is purely a curiosity, but I'm fascinated by mid-word pluralization, even if the word in question is a compound word. For example, passersby or standersby. No others have occurred to me. Can ...
24
votes
4answers
76k views

Does “staff” take a plural verb?

Which one of these two statements is correct? Our staff do ... Our staff does ... And is staffs ever correct?
24
votes
2answers
27k views

“People” or “peoples” when referring to an indigenous population?

Let's say we are talking about the indigenous pukapuka who live in Pluto. What is correct: "the pukapuka people" or "the pukapuka peoples"? I've read somewhere the usage of "peoples" in this context,...
23
votes
4answers
165k views

Is “everyone” singular or plural?

Which is correct? Everyone were convinced that he would go to the game. Everyone was convinced that he would go to the game. I think it's "was", because "everyone" is singular, but I just ...