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

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4answers
6k 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
10k 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
972 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
8k 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. ...
8
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9answers
2k views

What is the plural of Prius?

What would be the correct plural of Prius, and why? A Latin professor would say Prium’s the best...
8
votes
5answers
706 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
35k views

Plural of “roof”?

Roofs is generally used, but is rooves archaic or just wrong?
8
votes
5answers
432 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
27k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
16k 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. ...
8
votes
8answers
41k 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?
8
votes
4answers
6k views

Does “whereabouts” function as a singular or plural noun?

His whereabouts is unknown vs His whereabouts are unknown Which is correct, or is this simply a matter of preference?
8
votes
1answer
8k views

Is “public” plural or singular?

I wonder if the word "public" is plural or singular. Does anybody know?
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Adjective pluralization

A 16-year-old girl. She is 16 years old. I've read somewhere that the reason the year in the first example is singular is that it functions as an adjective, and adjectives can't be ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Election or Elections?

I'm a little confused about when I should be using the singular form of election, and when I should be using the plural form. Did he win the election or win the elections? Did I vote in the election ...
8
votes
3answers
26k views

Is “details” singular?

Which one of the following sentences is correct? Here is the details you requested. Here are the details you requested. Having googled "Here is the details" and "Here are the details", ...
8
votes
2answers
456 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
549 views

What is the proper plural of “reputation”?

Vote Down requires 125 reputation Shouldn't it be "reputations"? Why or why not?
8
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2answers
5k views

Singular or plural following a list

Can anyone tell me if I should use inspire or inspires in this phrase? An extraordinary leader whose vision, values, integrity and boundless curiosity inspires all who follow in his footsteps.
8
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the correct plural form of the word “forum”?

"Fora vs Forums" I understand that the word "forums" is more acceptable than "fora" because anyone can understand its meaning today and that English is a living language so it's adapting, but except ...
8
votes
3answers
723 views

Does (or did) “a trouser” or “a scissor” have a meaning?

We say (a pair of) trousers, (a pair of) scissors. For these two particular words, is/was there something like "a trouser" or "a scissor"? Did it use to mean anything? E.g. in Czech, the word for ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

“There’s” or “There are”?

I wanted to get the usage of There’s clarified. I have read sentences like: There’s a lot of projects on that topic. It appears to me that There’s applies to a lot of projects, rather than to ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do we use the plural “heads” and “tails” when describing sides of a coin?

Head or tail sound fine to my ESL ears. What's the reasoning behind the plural usage? I looked it up on etymonline but didn't find anything interesting.
8
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1answer
3k views

There is/are one or several apple/~s?

To be clear, among There is one or several apple. There are one or several apple. There is one or several apples. There are one or several apples. which is correct? My guess: ...
8
votes
5answers
9k views

Is “a total of 10 payments” singular or plural?

A total of 10 payments were made. OR A total of 10 payments was made. Which is correct? Or can both be correct?
8
votes
2answers
736 views

Historical usage of “was”/“were” with “you”

I was reading letters from a surgeon to his wife during the Civil War and noticed he used "was" as opposed to "were" on many occasions. Examples: I truly wish you was here with me. Was you ...
8
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4answers
3k views

Plural or singular when stating that an amount is enough

A colleague of mine corrected the following sentence in a text I had written: A handful of iterations was generally enough for convergence. According to her it should be: A handful of iterations ...
8
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5answers
4k views

Number agreement when using “(s)” for optional plural

I have a question about the following construction and which instance is correct. Selecting an appropriate study topic(s). Selecting appropriate study topic(s). When it is both singular ...
8
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3answers
1k views

In 'large herds of elephant and buffalo', why elephant not elephants?

I found the following expression in dictionary. large herds of elephant and buffalo A herd must be more than one, why using singular not plural?
8
votes
3answers
206 views

The rise of “all of the”

In the following graph, the long s accounts for the sudden rise in frequency of most of the; if you search for moft of the, the lines match up nicely. But what would be behind the sudden increase in ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Do two people have “breaths”?

In some books, I see the use of the word "breaths" in the phrase "they held their breaths". Is this correct? And if it is, should I go by the Ngram (below) in spite of grammaticality? Or are both ...
7
votes
8answers
433 views

“flavorx” v.s. “flavors”

I wrote something about the food. And I use flavors for plural flavor, however my foreign English teacher corrected it as flavorx. And he considers that I also should read 'flavors'. I googled the ...
7
votes
13answers
6k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
663 views

The computer has 48GB memory (or memories?)

What's the correct form? If both are correct, what's the difference?
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I pluralize “horsepower?”

Should I say that an engine can output 552 horsepower or 552 horsepowers? I've heard people use both. If it is just "horsepower", what is the justification for the nonstandard pluralization?
7
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5answers
13k views

Why does the incorrect plural “aircrafts” seem to be occurring more often?

My first reaction to aircrafts was to think it was a typo, but I just checked usage on NGrams... ...and compared it to usage for the singular / collective noun form aircraft... ...which seems to ...
7
votes
6answers
55k 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
7
votes
6answers
30k views

“There are so many” vs. “There is so many”

There are so many questions on this website. There is so many questions on this website. The former "sounds right," but the contracted form of the latter does as well: There's so many ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Are two or more clusters of ivy considered “ivy” or “ivies”?

When referring to two or more clusters of ivy, is it ivy, ivies, or something else entirely?
7
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6answers
5k views

Apostrophes and caps in Happy Mother’s Day / Happy Mothers’ Day

So, I’m writing this as it is Mother’s (or maybe Mothers’) Day today, and I was wondering what would be a correct way to write that. Should the apostrophe come be between the r and the s, or after ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Plural of “scheme”?

Scheme is the singular form. What is the plural of scheme?
7
votes
4answers
650 views

What is the plural form of trademarked product names, specifically of the term “WordPress”?

On the stackexchange site WordPress Answers, we recently discussed the plural form, or whether one exists at all, of the system we all use. WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a ...
7
votes
1answer
3k 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.
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Each apple and each orange [has/have]?

For a phrase such as the following: each apple and each orange Is it correct to use "has" or "have" when describing properties of both apples and oranges?
7
votes
7answers
628 views

Are there meta-plurals beyond “peoples”?

The plural of "person" is "people". The plural of "people" is "peoples". Person-people-peoples is the only sequence like this that I know of, but I'm looking for another. (The equivalent question ...
7
votes
3answers
16k views

Plural of “learning”

What is the plural of learning? Is it learnings?
7
votes
6answers
3k views

Why does English need an article before any noun?

In my native language, we can say: I have dog Because I don't want to say a dog (one dog, how many dogs) or the dog (that dog, the listener don't care which dog). p.s. after 3 years later, I ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Should it be “one”, “ones” or “one's” in a company's slogan?

I saw a tow truck with a slogan running the length of the bed. Were the "ones" to call What drew my attention was the past tense without an apostrophe, and the inappropriate use of quotation ...
7
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3answers
3k views

To refer back to “one or more”, should I use “it” or “them”?

In one computer program, there is an option to specify one or more arguments (software packages in this case). I am writing the help documentation, so I'm wondering what phrase to use to explain that ...