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

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16
votes
6answers
55k 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
40k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
27k 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..."?
16
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Americans can eat Chinese, but Chinese can't eat Americans?

No offence!! Please take it just for knowledge. I heard one of my friends saying Americans can eat Chinese but Chinese can't eat Americans. He said so for fun, and everybody was just laughing. But I ...
16
votes
0answers
2k 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
4answers
8k 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.
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it grammatically correct 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 be: Your barracks are finished or Your ...
15
votes
3answers
46k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
18k views

Is “staff” plural?

Which one of these two statements is correct? Our staff do ... Our staff does ... Is staffs correct?
14
votes
3answers
10k 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
743 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
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
595 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
3answers
12k 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.
14
votes
3answers
891 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
1k 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
1k 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
3answers
3k 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
10k 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
5answers
843 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
4answers
14k views

€10 = “ten euro” or “ten euros”?

Which is the correct form: "ten euro" or "ten euros"?
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
8k views

Politics: singular or plural?

Which is correct, "politics is out of scope" or "politics are out of scope?"
12
votes
4answers
851 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”?
12
votes
2answers
806 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
3answers
7k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k 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? ...
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
34k 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
1k 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
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
1answer
2k 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?
11
votes
4answers
4k 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?
11
votes
4answers
11k 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? ...
11
votes
7answers
922 views

What is a reasonable definition for “is”? What is the rule for inserting it in a sentence?

I am learning a foreign language with the help of an excellent tutor who speaks enough English for me to be able to understand them. The deal is, essentially, I correct their English if they ...
11
votes
3answers
7k views

What's the correct plural form of “premise”?

Someone criticized me for using the word "premises" to denote a set of assumed "propositions", due to its connotation with houses and buildings. Is that correct? If so, what should be the proper ...
11
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
13k views

Is “audience” singular or plural?

I want to use 'audience' in the following sentence. In what form should I use it? Is it a singular or plural noun? How the audience demotivate players in the NBA. How the audience demotivates ...
11
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. ...
11
votes
3answers
301 views

Difference in usage of “rock” and “rocks”

Recently, I came across this situation where I was asked which one was correct: Fossils are found in sedimentary rock. Fossils are found in sedimentary rocks. Is there is distinction ...
11
votes
4answers
970 views

Why is there no consistency in the plural forms of words ending on an “f” (e.g. safe, roof, dwarf, etc.)?

The plural form of leaf is leaves, although according to Merriam-Webster leafs is also correct. Dwarf can be pluralized as either dwarfs or dwarves. Conversely, the words roof and safe are pluralized ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do we use plural when we say “blow someone's brains out”?

My simplistic thinking is that each person has one brain, so why do we say "blow someone's brains out"?
11
votes
2answers
983 views

X, along with Y, “were” or “was”?

I was interested in the following sentence which appeared in a brief Tom Daschle's biography in The Washington Post, Politics, (WHO RUNS GOV). She, along with Mark Childress, were set to be ...
11
votes
6answers
5k views

“For both our sake” or “for both our sakes”

Should sake be pluralized in this usage? For both our sake, I'm going to leave now. For both our sakes, I'm going to leave now.
11
votes
4answers
22k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
724 views

What does Maugham mean by “his spaghetti were”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Was the usage "Spaghetti were" ever acceptable or common? [Following up from, but not a duplicate of, this question by another user, which was unresolved…] ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it common for place names to lose their possessive apostrophe?

On a road trip, my wife and I drove by Kings Dominion. We debated whether this should in actuality be King’s Dominion. It seemed that it ought to be possessive, or possibly plural possessive. Upon ...
11
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...