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

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18
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the plural form of “Software”?

Is it correct to use "softwares"? For example: There are various video conversion softwares in the market.
17
votes
6answers
3k views

Is “the USA” singular or plural?

On the one side, the USA is just one country. Logic says it should be, then, singular, just like the United Kingdom is. Example: The USA owns this domain. On the other side, if I however expand ...
17
votes
3answers
66k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

New Zealand pronunciation of “women” vs “woman”

I have read in a number of places that the NZ pronunciation of "women" must be rather peculiar. Quoting from just one such place: For some years I've noted the tendency of Kiwis to pronounce ...
17
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

“Those who qualify will be awarded a certificate” or “those who qualify will be awarded certificates”?

All my life, I have been confused with choosing plural or singular form to represent one-one correspondence notion. Only those who qualify will be awarded a certificate. or Only those who ...
16
votes
6answers
66k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
19k views

€10 = “ten euro” or “ten euros”?

Which is the correct form: "ten euro" or "ten euros"?
16
votes
0answers
3k views

What is the plural of the word “index”?

What is the plural of the word "index"? It seems that there are two that are acceptable: "indexes" and "indices". I happen to prefer "indices" but I was wondering if one was generally preferred over ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it ok to say “Your barracks is finished”?

In the online game Travian, the following sentence is used: Your barracks is finished. A good step towards world domination. Shouldn’t it instead be: Your barracks are finished. or Your ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Why did they spell it “URL’s”?

I was reading this documentation file of some software and note the plural spelling of this abbreviation is “URL’s”. Why isn’t it “URLs”?
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Apostrophe in “beginners guide”

In the phrase beginners guide to …, where should the apostrophe go? Beginner’s Guide to […] Beginners’ Guide to […] In my particular case, this is the title for a presentation so there are ...
15
votes
3answers
17k views

Is there a term for words that have identical singular and plural forms?

Is there a term for nouns that have identical singular and plural forms? For example, sheep fish glasses aircraft/spacecraft etc.
15
votes
3answers
648 views

What are wrong with this phrase?

Is the phrase what are wrong with XY and ZZ correct English? I stumbled upon it in a question on movies.SE: What are wrong with the bleach and the fish in the Machinist?, and instantly thought ...
14
votes
4answers
25k views

Is “staff” plural?

Which one of these two statements is correct? Our staff do ... Our staff does ... Is staffs correct?
14
votes
3answers
13k views

Why is the plural form of “life” “lives”, while the plural form of “still life” is “still lifes”?

Why does the plural form of "life" is "lives", while the plural form of "still life" is "still lifes"? From Wikipedia: A still life (plural still lifes) is a work of art depicting mostly ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

When do I use -i for expressing the plural of a word?

I've never been certain of the rules surrounding the use of the -i suffix for pluralizing a word. I had thought that it was used for any word whose singular ended in an 's', but that doesn't appear to ...
14
votes
3answers
8k views

“There are a couple of apples” or “there is a couple of apples”?

You have only one couple of apples, so it's singular. There are multiple apples, so it's plural. Which one is right, "there are a couple of apples" or "there is a couple of apples"? I have seen both ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Family name pluralization

When pluralizing family (last) names that also happen to be common English words, does the pluralization follow the same rules as the common word? For example, "the Smith family" can be pluralized as ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

“User accounts” or “users account”

Is it correct to say user accounts or users account when referring to the accounts any user has on a site like this one? In general, in the case of a noun that is used as adjective for the noun that ...
14
votes
4answers
15k views

What is the proper plural of the word “freshman”?

Would it be proper to say freshman students, freshmen, or freshmen students? Edit: It is worth noting that I have since learned it is more acceptable in educational circles to use the term ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Should nouns borrowed from Japanese be pluralized?

As someone who has watched a lot of subtitled Japanese animation, it seems odd to hear a word such as ninja (used in the plural) in the dialogue and see it transliterated as ninjas. It somehow seems ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is the plural acronym “CSS” treated as singular?

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, which is a plural phrase. One would say: Cascading Style Sheets are used to provide a central location for all of the stylings of a project. However, it ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

“None” as plural indefinite pronoun

In my grammar book (English Grammar, HarperCollins Publishers), I read that none is occasionally treated as plural, but it is usually regarded as singular. Can you give me an example of sentence where ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

How to treat a country name that has a plural meaning

I was wondering if there was a sentence that contains a country name (or generally a proper noun) that has a plural word in it - e.g., the United States or The United Emirates - how do we treat it? ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

“Cannon” as plural

I'm reading a novel based in ye olde pirate-times, and I have come across the author's usage of "cannon" (without the "s") to refer to multiple cannons. The ship boasted 32 cannon onboard. Is ...
13
votes
4answers
37k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

“Are” vs. “is” for proper nouns which sound plural (such as band names)

I was trying to explain to a friend that someone is no longer available on Spotify earlier today so I said the sentence: The Avalanches are no longer available on Spotify. Immediately after ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How to indicate possession by e.g. passers-by, mothers-in-law

I'm quite fond of internal pluralisation, such as passers-by, mothers-in-law, or even Chambers of Commerce. However, I've recently realised that I've no idea how to indicate possession in such a ...
13
votes
1answer
10k views

Politics: singular or plural?

Which is correct, "politics is out of scope" or "politics are out of scope?"
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Where did the singular “innings” come from?

In baseball, an inning is a team's (or both teams', depending on context) turn to bat. A game consists of 9 innings. In cricket, an innings is a team's turn to bat, a game consists of 2 or 4 ...
12
votes
4answers
14k views

There are no comments / There is no comment

Which is correct? * "There are no comments." * "There is no comment." Which would you use for a web application, i.e. what to display when a blog post or an article has no comment attached? ...
12
votes
6answers
7k views

Is “et al.” used as a singular or plural subject?

When referring to multiple authors by using the name of the first author and "et al.", is it correct to grammatically treat this as one person or multiple persons? Gamma et al. are saying in their ...
12
votes
2answers
909 views

Why is it that score is used in singular when referring to several groups of 20?

If I'm not mistaken, score can mean "a group or set twenty". What I don't understand is why you say for example "Four score and seven years ago...", instead of saying "four scores" (since there are ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

Is the word “data” now considered singular, or still plural?

I know that the singular of data is datum. I know that data is a plural. However, common usage of the word "data" suggests it is used as a "collection of data". Here is [the collection of] data. ...
12
votes
4answers
15k views

What is the proper way to write the plural of a single letter? (another apostrophe question)

When writing (a blog post, script, etc..) what is the proper way to indicate two or more instances of a single letter? For instance, in Monty Python's Bookshop Sketch: C: I wonder if you might ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is walri not the correct pluralization of walrus?

Why is walri not the correct pluralization of walrus?
12
votes
5answers
45k views

Is using “fruits” as the plural of “fruit” acceptable?

I've always understood the plural of fruit to be fruit, not fruits. I was looking at some marketing material and they used the word "fruits" in the following context: A unique infusion made with ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Plural of 'yes'

What is the plural of yes? Googling brings up many different suggestions from different sources. Yesses Yeses Yes's Yes' ?
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Is 'couple' ever used in the sense of 'some'?

Is the usage of the word couple (as in, "I want to ask a couple of questions...") to mean 'some' or 'few' correct (as in, interpreting given example to mean "I want to ask a few questions")? As a ...
12
votes
2answers
35k views

Possessive and plural of “Series”

I'm looking at the financial definition of series: a group of stocks or options that have common characteristics. Source How would I form the possessive and plural of this term? I'm guessing it is ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Usage of English definite article when referring to generic word

My mother language does not have articles, so I still struggle to choose when to use the indefinte and definite article. The other day, I learned: "The dog is an animal" is acceptable. "The iron is ...
12
votes
2answers
631 views

Etymology of certain words ending in “-en”

Tchrist's comment here on my answer to an etymology question brought the following to mind: Ox (from Old English oxa) maintains the same vowel in the plural oxen that it has in the singular. But ...
12
votes
2answers
8k views

Should it be folk or folks?

As a British native English speaker I have only ever used the word "folk" as an adjective in phrases such as "folk music" or "folk tales". My unscientific impression is that its use as a synonym for ...
12
votes
1answer
3k views

“The news is good.” Why?

We use "the news is good" instead of "the news are good." What is the rationale behind this? Are there similar situations in English?
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Collective nouns and subject-verb agreement: general rule or arbitrary?

A newspaper ran this headline recently: (1) Police crack down on IAC protesters. [emph added] Why did it not read: (2) ? Police cracks down on IAC protesters. I have found instances of ...
12
votes
2answers
690 views

Indefinite article in the “An [adjective] [number] [plural noun]” construction

I wasn't sure how best to phrase the title of this question. I'm interested in constructions of the following form: An estimated 50 people died in the bombing. 'An estimated' could be ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

Is “criterions” a valid plural for “criterion”?

Is criterions a valid plural for criterion? Dictionary.com says it is, but Oxford does not confirm or reject it.
11
votes
7answers
1k views

What is the plural form of “iPad 2”?

With the introduction of the iPad 2, I find myself hesitating when trying to refer to several of them. Is it iPads 2 or iPad 2's?