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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

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 ...
8
votes
4answers
5k 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
6k views

Is “public” plural or singular?

I wonder if the word "public" is plural or singular. Does anybody know?
8
votes
5answers
3k 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
21k 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
3answers
480 views

What is the proper plural of “reputation”?

Vote Down requires 125 reputation Shouldn't it be "reputations"? Why or why not?
8
votes
3answers
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

Which is correct: “There are not any employees” vs. “there is not any employee”

Sometimes I see two variants of following sentence: "there are not any employees" in the department "there is not any employee" in the department What is the correct sentence?
8
votes
3answers
3k 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
11k 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 ...
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
1answer
2k 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
2answers
609 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
votes
4answers
2k 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
votes
3answers
952 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
202 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
969 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
422 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
4k 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
641 views

The computer has 48GB memory (or memories?)

What's the correct form? If both are correct, what's the difference?
7
votes
4answers
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
votes
6answers
26k 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
votes
3answers
559 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
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
votes
2answers
873 views

Plural of “scheme”?

Scheme is the singular form. What is the plural of scheme?
7
votes
6answers
4k 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
3answers
13k 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. ...
7
votes
4answers
436 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
5k 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
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
8answers
33k 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?
7
votes
7answers
540 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
13k views

Plural of “learning”

What is the plural of learning? Is it learnings?
7
votes
3answers
776 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
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Gin & Tonics vs Gins & Tonic vs Gins & Tonics

When I order multiple G&Ts which should I ask for?
7
votes
2answers
4k 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.
7
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Plural of “syntax” [closed]

What is the plural of syntax? Would it be syntacies? What rule would govern this kind of construction?
7
votes
4answers
7k 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?
7
votes
4answers
8k views

“In regard to” or “in regards to”

Is it incorrect to say either of the following? In regards to your previous email In regards to your previous emails I was asked this by a non-native speaker, and after thinking about it I ...
7
votes
2answers
5k 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, ...
7
votes
2answers
578 views

Was the usage “Spaghetti were” ever acceptable or common?

In W. Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence, there is a line about Dirk Stroeve which goes His spaghetti were …. Spaghetti is plural in Italian, but is this ever a normal usage in English? ...
7
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Plurals of foreign words

What rules of thumb govern when to pluralise a foreign word as it should be in the original language and when it should be pluralised as an English word? For example, you'd get some funny looks using ...
7
votes
3answers
414 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
201 views

Is “apocrypha” plural? [closed]

Is "apocrypha" plural? These are extra-canonical books of the Bible. Is a singular one called an apocryphum or apocryphon or something like that?
7
votes
1answer
538 views

When to use the plural of “nature”?

Someone told me that the word nature should not be plural in my sentence. I would argue, however, that it is obvious that it requires an "s". The problematic sentence is as follow: We must exploit ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...