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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

13
votes
6answers
5k 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. ...
13
votes
3answers
6k 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
1answer
8k views

Why is walri not the correct pluralization of walrus? [closed]

Why is walri not the correct pluralization of walrus?
13
votes
2answers
17k views

Plural of 'yes'

What is the plural of yes? Googling brings up many different suggestions from different sources. Yesses Yeses Yes's Yes' ?
13
votes
2answers
8k views

Plural of “syntax” [closed]

What is the plural of syntax? Would it be syntacies? What rule would govern this kind of construction?
13
votes
1answer
9k views

Ellipsis or Ellipses?

Inspired by this question: What is the correct term to use when describing the "three dots" (. . .), ellipsis or ellipses? And are either of these terms considered plural? For example, if I wanted to ...
12
votes
5answers
7k 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.
12
votes
4answers
24k 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
2answers
4k views

Plural form of 'schema'

Schema appears to have two plural forms that are both valid: schemata and schemas. Are they completely interchangeable; or are there any guidelines on which one is appropriate for particular contexts? ...
12
votes
2answers
29k views

Why is the plural of “deer” the same as the singular?

Why is the plural version of deer identical to the singular version? If mouse became mice, then why did the singular deer not change to something else in the plural?
12
votes
2answers
1k 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
4answers
2k 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"?
12
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
65k views

Is “many a times” correct?

I've been doing proofreading on a beta site and there appears to be a typo. Is there any usage of "many a times" that is correct, or is it always wrong to apply a singular "a" to a plural noun?
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
7answers
11k views

Can “cattle” be singular?

I've grown up on a farm, and my dad and his dad, apparently, always used "cattle" to refer to both the singular and plural forms of the domestic bovine. I've always assumed it's how the word "deer" ...
12
votes
3answers
628 views

“Foxen” versus “oxes”

What is the difference between fox and box versus ox, that the first two are pluralized as foxes and boxes, whereas the last one is pluralized oxen? Note: I know how to pluralize them. What I want ...
12
votes
2answers
48k 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
5answers
329 views

Can a pronoun and its referent have different plurality?

(Hello, everyone. I am new to this community and also not familiar to English, so if this posting does not meet your standard or tradition, please let me know.) My question is as the title says: Is ...
12
votes
2answers
1k 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
15k 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
4answers
3k 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
1k 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
10answers
865 views

Is it grammatical to say “the batmen”?

As far as I know, the five actors to have played the role of Batman in films are Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Christian Bale. Is it grammatical to call them "the batmen"? ...
11
votes
13answers
13k views

Plural of “advice”

The dictionary says that advice can only be used in the singular. But in a specific part of computer science (aspect-oriented programming) this word is used to reference some object that implements ...
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
7answers
2k views

km plural or singular, “out of which 100 km is motorway”

The sentence is The total length of the public road's network is 29151 km, out of which 1243 km are motorways, 6810 km of national roads and 21098 km of regional and local roads. source: ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Do people pluralize “WiFi” with an “s”?

I'm in a friendly argument with a supervisor about this one, and I'd like some data: Does one say "WiFis" when referring to multiple WiFi networks, or does one say "WiFi"? I suppose alternately, one ...
11
votes
6answers
94k views

What is the plural of “equipment”?

What is the plural form of the word "equipment"? Is the word "equipment" singular? Context: for tools/objects
11
votes
2answers
658 views

has scientists excited or has excited scientists?

I saw the following on the Facebook page of Time. Is "has scientists excited" or the perfect version "has excited scientists" correct? What's the difference if both are correct? The recent ...
11
votes
7answers
1k 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
14k 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
3answers
24k views

“A total of 10 babies is…” vs. “a total of 10 babies are…” vs. “Ten babies in total are…”

Which one is the correct one? A total of 10 babies is sleeping. (A) A total of 10 babies are sleeping. (B) Ten babies in total are sleeping. (C) For me, both (A) and (C) are correct. ...
11
votes
3answers
374 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
1answer
632 views

Data is/are in a global context

I have been commissioned to script a series of brief videos on the importance of data accuracy and consistency. The videos are directed to employees of a company with offices around the ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

Is there a good rule of thumb for plurals from words ending in “o”?

The following words and their plurals seem to be somewhat inconsistent: combo / combos concerto / concertos grotto / grottos / grottoes (?) hero / heros (?) / heroes potato / potatos (?) / potatoes ...
11
votes
4answers
20k views

Is “stuff ” a plural word? [closed]

I'm wondering which one of these expressions is correct? This stuff or these stuff?
11
votes
2answers
2k 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
5answers
11k views

Why are the words hundred, thousand, million, and trillion singular after plural numbers?

Can anyone give a grammatical explanation why the words hundred, thousand, million, and trillion are singular after plural numbers? For example, why can't we say three hundreds or 4 thousands or ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Is “ ’s ” ever correct for pluralization?

A relatively modern dictionary (I don’t know which one, because we’ve cut out the pages and used them as wallpaper in our bathroom, but I know it’s less than 20 years old) indicates that R’s is one ...
11
votes
6answers
11k 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
3answers
102k views

“Analysis” vs. “analyses”

The (U.S.) National Institutes of Health website has a webpage that states that it contains reports, data and analyses of NIH research activities I feel as though this sounds awkward. Would ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

If I can say “videos”, can I also say “audios”?

Audio and video seem to me very similar words by usage. I often hear the plural form for video, but is there a plural form for audio? Can I say audios? I've never heard it being used.
11
votes
5answers
812 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
2answers
11k views

Why is “zero” plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Correct plural form of a zero quantified noun I could have: Zero books One book Two books Why is zero in plural form? Edit Per Merriam-Webster: Plural (adj): of, ...
11
votes
1answer
9k views

When should a singular word ending in “y” end in “ies” plurally?

Words like "sky" and "money" have "ies" as a plural suffix (i.e. "skies" and "monies") but other words like "monkey" and "Emmy" do not ("monkeys" and "Emmys"). Is there a rule dictating the use of ...
11
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the plural of proof of concept? Is it proofs of concept, proof of concepts or proofs of concepts? [closed]

Can someone please clarify what is the plural form of proof of concept? Is it proofs of concept, proof of concepts or proofs of concepts?
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
1answer
2k views

Why is “f” in a singular replaced with “v” in its plural?

For example, "wife" is "wives" in plural, as is knife, strife, etc. What's the reason and/or etymology behind this?
11
votes
3answers
38k views

Afterward versus afterwards — which, and/or when?

So, I've noticed over time that I see both "afterward" and "afterwards" at different times. Having a pet peeve (though I'm not certain it's actually a well-founded prejudice, lexicographically ...