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

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3answers
38k 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 ...
15
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3answers
34k 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
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3answers
136k 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 "...
15
votes
3answers
888 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 "...
15
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3answers
30k views

Plural of 'yes'

What is the plural of yes? Googling brings up many different suggestions from different sources. Yesses Yeses Yes's Yes' ?
15
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2answers
3k 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 ...
15
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 ...
15
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2answers
2k 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 ...
14
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4answers
4k 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 ...
14
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2answers
8k 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?
14
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7answers
125k 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
14
votes
2answers
56k 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?
14
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6answers
7k 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. ...
14
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2answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
6k 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
9k 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? (...
14
votes
1answer
779 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 world—...
14
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1answer
21k views

Politics: singular or plural?

Which is correct, "politics is out of scope" or "politics are out of scope?"
14
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2answers
22k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
5k 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 case....
13
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5answers
8k views

The Plural of Email - Emails? [duplicate]

I debated with my peers that we can use the word emails when referring to more than one and it would be grammatically right. But most of them said since we don't say we received mails today, ...
13
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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
1answer
11k views

Possessive form for words ending in “y”

Which of the following is correct? The fortune 500 companys' assets are vast. The fortune 500 companies' assets are vast.
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3answers
8k 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
2answers
986 views

has seen vs have seen [duplicate]

Consider the following sentences: The last few years has seen the building of the new church. and The last few years have seen the building of the new church. As a native speaker, both of ...
13
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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 ...
13
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2answers
5k views

If I can say “videos”, may 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.
13
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2answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
7answers
17k 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" is....
13
votes
2answers
8k 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?
13
votes
1answer
12k 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 ...
13
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4answers
4k 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
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5answers
10k 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
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13answers
18k 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 ...
12
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7answers
4k 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: ...
12
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4answers
62k views

Is “both” singular?

Is the following correct? Both of these essentially act as a WebKit wrapper. Or should it be the following? Both of these essentially acts as a WebKit wrapper. Context.
12
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5answers
19k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
735 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
11k views

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

Why is walri not the correct pluralization of walrus?
12
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3answers
34k 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. ...
12
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4answers
3k 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
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2answers
5k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
7k views

Why “themselves” and “himself”

In the earliest grades of elementary schools, students learn that "hisself" and "theirselves" are not words. I do not understand why this is. If you wanted to refer to 'his' sock, you would say "his ...
12
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2answers
2k 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 ...
12
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6answers
17k 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.
12
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5answers
420 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
3answers
1k 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
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5answers
19k views

Is an apostrophe with a decade (e.g. 1920’s) generally considered “incorrect”?

I typically don’t use an apostrophe with plurals in any situation, but I always assumed that the use of an apostrophe in constructions like acronyms: Forty BA’s were given out to students this ...
12
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2answers
57k 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 ...
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3answers
10k views

When should I use “corpuses” over “corpora”?

I've come into a situation where I need to use the plural form of corpus, but I'm a bit confused about which plural form to use. Merriam-Webster says the only plural form is corpora, for all senses ...