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

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11
votes
1answer
881 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
2answers
579 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
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 ...
10
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
21k 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?
10
votes
3answers
2k 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
6answers
5k 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 ...
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
4answers
10k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
5k 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
6k views

“viruses” or “virii”?

Is the plural of virus "viruses" or "virii"?
10
votes
3answers
14k 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
573 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
4answers
8k views

Is “stuff ” a plural word? [closed]

I'm wondering which one of these expressions is correct? This stuff or these stuff?
10
votes
1answer
402 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
2answers
924 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
2answers
26k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
1k 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.
10
votes
3answers
484 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
4k 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
4k 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
965 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
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
4answers
760 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", ...
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
4answers
4k 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.
9
votes
7answers
10k 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
12k 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
3answers
15k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
1k 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" ...
9
votes
7answers
5k 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
4answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k 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
4k 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
1k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
968 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
3answers
7k views

“Are” vs. “is” with compound subjects

How are the wife and kid? How is the wife and kid? Which is more correct?
9
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
8k views

Using “skies” instead of “sky”

Why do people use "skies" instead of "sky" (when, indeed, we only have one sky)? Reach for the sky/skies! and I'm glad to finally see some blue skies. I'm glad to finally see a blue ...
9
votes
2answers
3k 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?
9
votes
3answers
896 views

“1 out of 100 chickens is” or “1 out of 100 chickens are”?

I'm in an argument. To me "are" makes more sense. I understand the rationale for is because it's only one chicken, but chickens itself is plural. Help?
9
votes
2answers
7k views

Should I use the singular or plural verb in mathematical formulae (“Two and two make/makes four”)?

I remember somebody correcting me once when I said, "Two and two makes four", since the conjunction and would imply the use of a plural verb. They would prefer I said: Two and two make four. ...
9
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Parenthetical pluralization of words ending in “-y”

Sentences constructed with a word written in the singular and parenthetically in the plural are straightforward when that word does not end in -y, e.g.: List all applicable employee(s). How does ...
8
votes
9answers
2k views

What is the plural of Prius?

Don’t hate me for asking, but What would be the correct plural of Prius, and why? A Latin professor would say Prium’s the best...
8
votes
5answers
658 views

Plurals of “infimum” and “supremum”

The words infimum and supremum are technical terms in mathematics. Should their plurals be infima and suprema or infimums and supremums?
8
votes
6answers
22k views

Plural of “roof”?

Roofs is generally used, but is rooves archaic or just wrong?
8
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.
8
votes
5answers
382 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"? ...
8
votes
3answers
24k views

“How's things?” or “How are things?”

In a short interview where people were introducing themselves I saw something that grammatically sounds erroneous. Is the use of How's things instead of How're things a kind of expression or a simple ...