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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

10
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
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
3k 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
71k 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
9
votes
2answers
2k 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? ...
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
18k 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
4answers
473 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
3answers
18k 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. ...
9
votes
9answers
16k 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
3k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
10k 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
1answer
57k views

Difference between “zeros” and “zeroes” [duplicate]

Are there any differences between “zeros” and “zeroes”? Is any of them more correct, more often used, more modern? Are there differences e.g. between British English and American English in the usage ...
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
48k views

“Any” followed by singular or plural countable nouns?

This question has troubled me for ages despite my several attempts of looking it up in dictionaries or usage books. Do we say, "Do you have any ideas" or "Do you have any idea"? I do see an example ...
9
votes
3answers
7k 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.
9
votes
3answers
6k 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
2k 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
8k 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, ...
9
votes
4answers
1k 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
9k 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
votes
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
771 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
49k views

Plural of “roof”?

Roofs is generally used, but is rooves archaic or just wrong?
8
votes
6answers
37k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
31k 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
8answers
50k 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
1answer
4k 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.
8
votes
5answers
5k 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
7k 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
1k views

Plural of “first child”

If multiple people each have a first child, are those children collectively referred to as first children or first childs? The former seems more consistent with the usual plural of child, but the ...
8
votes
1answer
10k views

Is “public” plural or singular?

I wonder if the word "public" is plural or singular. Does anybody know?
8
votes
3answers
18k views

Plural of “learning”

What is the plural of learning? Is it learnings?
8
votes
7answers
786 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
659 views

What is the proper plural of “reputation”?

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

Using a singular or plural verb after “and/or”

If the subject of a sentence is separated by "and/or", should the verb be pluralized, as with "and", or agree with the rightmost subject, as with "or"? For example: His co-workers and/or his boss ...
8
votes
3answers
32k 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
10answers
1k views

What is the plural of 'only child'?

I suppose it would be 'only children' but that does not sound quite right. For example, a schoolteacher might say, "in my class there are seven only children".
8
votes
2answers
10k views

Is it correct to put “bros” before “hos” or before “hoes”?

I'm wondering about the pluralisation of "ho" (as in slang for prostitute) in the phrase "Bros before ho(e)s". To me, hos makes sense because it's consistent with bros. Hoes could also refer to a ...
8
votes
3answers
5k 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
2answers
32k views

How can I distinguish between the singular and plural of “species”?

I've been reading a Wikipedia article that describes the symptoms of rabies in various species, and I want to add a clarification note about which species (or species) a specific paragraph refers to. ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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
4k 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
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the difference between a “singular noun” and a “plural noun treated as singular”?

I'd always thought that words like "physics" and "mathematics" were singular: after all, we say "physics is the study of…" etc. But apparently, according to the comments on this question about "news", ...
8
votes
3answers
736 views

Uses of the word “lyrics”

I don’t understand how to use of the word lyrics. I would like to know how it is used by a native English speaker. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary says: lyric noun (also lyrics) the words of a ...
8
votes
1answer
4k 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
11k 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
3answers
29k 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 ...