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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

11
votes
4answers
27k views

What is the plural of “scenario”?

What is the plural of "scenario"? I have always used "scenarios", but have recently come across "scenaria" and "scenarii". Should I be treating it as an Italian or Latin word?
11
votes
7answers
974 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
4answers
5k views

“Neither Michael nor Albert is correct” or “Neither Michael nor Albert are correct”?

What is the correct sentence? Neither Michael nor Albert is correct. Neither Michael nor Albert are correct.
11
votes
3answers
9k 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
5answers
18k 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
3answers
319 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
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
4answers
1k 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
6answers
7k 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
11k 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
1k 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
2answers
2k views

Correct plural form of a zero quantified noun

When using zero as a quantifier, is it correct to use the singular form on the object of the quantifier, or the plural form? It sounds confusing when I put it that way, but what I mean is: Which is ...
11
votes
5answers
738 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
2k 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
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
6k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
1k 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?
10
votes
4answers
910 views

Can I use the word “milks” when discussing KINDS of milk

Heard at the cafe: "We have three milks: soy, almond, and cow." Is it ok to use the word "milks" in this context? I've heard it in other uncountable nouns, like "essential oils", or "simple sugars", ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

“Was” or “were” for “half a dozen”

In Microsoft Word, the following sentence is flagged. It tells me to use "was" instead of "were" There were half a dozen books strewn about the floor. I would think that you would use "were" ...
10
votes
2answers
536 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

“There Is”/“There are” depends on plurality of the first list element or not?

It seems I put a stick in the anthill at ELL. Bounty assigned by outside party, two lengthy, reference-citing answers, one "-1" (awarded the bounty), one "-2", two others scored "0" and "-2" ...
10
votes
3answers
21k views

“Criteria” versus “criterion”

I came across several forums and articles saying that criteria is plural and criterion is singular. Some gave me the impression that criterion is used to denote a set of rules. What is the correct ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

More than 1000 gallons of paint is/are sold each day [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Plural/singular verb agreement with units Does modifying a collective noun with a number make the subject plural? Can anyone help me determine the correct verb in this ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

“Are either of you free?”

In the process of writing to two people I typed: "Are either of you free?" and was immediately called out by my grammar checker which suggested I should write: "Is either of you free?" The second of ...
10
votes
2answers
8k views

“viruses” or “virii”?

Is the plural of virus "viruses" or "virii"?
10
votes
1answer
464 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
18k views

Is “each and every one of you” singular or plural?

Is each and every one of you singular or plural? I searched this subject and found a similar post here but I just want to confirm.
10
votes
6answers
673 views

When is it correct to not use the irregular form for a plural? e.g. mouses vs. mice

I seem to recall that an English teacher somewhere along the course of my education had indicated that when referencing distinct types of a word, e.g. a computer mouse and the mammal, it would be ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How should I pluralise “as is”?

Let’s say I write: “Just send me these documents as is”. Is that correct? Should it be pluralised into “as are”, which sounds so wrong to me? Or are they both incorrect, in which case I may write “as ...
10
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
10k views

“Are” vs. “is” with compound subjects

How are the wife and kid? How is the wife and kid? Which is more correct?
10
votes
4answers
3k views

When a sentence uses an optional plural, should the rest of the sentence treat it as singular or plural?

Consider the following sentence: We assume that the individual(s) possesses some general knowledge of the rules of football. Is "possesses" correct there? Should it be "possess"? Is the rule ...
10
votes
3answers
542 views

Is there any common context for “enoughs”?

I noticed today that ENOUGHS is valid in Scrabble(tm), and I realize "enough" can be used as a noun ("I've had enough!"), but I'm unaware of any context where one might use its plural. Perhaps it's ...
10
votes
5answers
6k 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" ...
10
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

How to deal with irregular plural(s)?

What happens if you have a written phrase like We were looking at the same poster(s). but with a noun that has an irregular plural? E.g. with baby/babies, would this be the correct form? We ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

Why do some people pedantically cling to dying word forms (e.g. die, oxen)?

The only times I have ever heard the word "die" to refer to one dice are from my mother, and from my primary school English teacher. Every person I ever hear always says, "give me a dice" if they want ...
9
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the preferred plural form of “bus”?

The OED states that both "buses" and "busses" are acceptable plural forms of "bus". Is one generally preferred over the other?
9
votes
6answers
2k views

Does the word 'God' with a capital G have a plural form?

Does the word 'God' with a capital G have a plural form?
9
votes
5answers
2k views

“My last couple of years” — singular or plural?

Should I use "wasn't" or "weren't" in the following sentence? My last couple of years as an Edison Eagle wasn’t all about fighting and bad friendships.
9
votes
4answers
15k views

When traveling abroad, are you “oversea” or “overseas”?

I live in Singapore and I will be travelling to Jakarta. Should I say "I will be oversea next week." or "I will be overseas next week."? Looking at Google Maps, it looks like there are two seas ...
9
votes
7answers
13k views

Is “a wide range of features” singular or plural?

In the office, we've been having a discussion about the grammar in a sentence and have differing opinions about what is right and what is wrong... It is a very minor issue but is still bugging me :) ...
9
votes
4answers
460 views

Pluralizing keywords in programming languages [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Marking plural of code words In the language that I'm currently working in one of the keywords is try. I'm writing an error message: No implementation for global ...
9
votes
2answers
971 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?
9
votes
7answers
6k views

“Without reason” or “Without reasons”?

Do we say "Without reason" or "Without reasons"? (e.g. She started laughing without (apparent) reason(s).). Is "reason" countable or not? Can we ever use a plural noun after "without"?
9
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Why are words ending in “-um” and “-us” pluralized to end in “-a” and “-i”, respectively?

Where does the practice of using -a and -i for plural forms of -um and -us, respectively, come from? Bacteria vs. bacterium Fungi vs. fungus
9
votes
2answers
5k views

Plural of “syntax” [closed]

What is the plural of syntax? Would it be syntacies? What rule would govern this kind of construction?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

'phenomena' as singular: usage

We know phenomena is a plural whose singular form is phenomenon. However, I have seen frequent of use of phenomena itself as singular, as in 'this is a phenomena ...', 'this phenomena is ...', etc. ...
9
votes
2answers
13k views

What is the correct syntax for a plural possessive of a word already ending in s? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s? Before you vote to close as a duplicate, note that these two questions deal with similar issues to this, but none ...