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

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2answers
7k 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
4answers
10k 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
6k 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
1answer
2k views

Is the plural of the electronic mouse “mouses” or “mice”?

Is the plural of that device that you plug into your computer mouses or mice? Which of these is correct? I bought some wireless optical mouses for my colleagues at work. I bought some ...
7
votes
2answers
594 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
2answers
19k 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. ...
7
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
23k views

What is the proper plural of “a series”? [closed]

In math, we use the term series a lot, and there are many types of series. How should I craft my sentence when I have three different ones in mind to talk about? Should I settle down for a less ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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", ...
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
499 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
221 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
633 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
2k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the plural “bosoms” an acceptable word? Or is it always “bosom”?

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bosom I found recently that even an elderly educated woman was referring to her bosom in the plural, as her bosoms. Please settle my discomfort finally, and clarify ...
7
votes
2answers
266 views

What is the correct way to define an acronym when its first appearance is plural? [closed]

The question and answers posed in What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym? deals very nicely with acronym (and possibly initialism) usage. What about the case when you are defining the ...
7
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
7k views

How can I optionally pluralize the word “diagnosis” in writing?

I'm building a web form and am looking to label a check box list used to select one or more diagnoses. I want to label this list in a way that indicates to the user that they may select one or more ...
7
votes
3answers
93 views

Origin of plurality of “wars” in phrases like “Star Wars”

There are a number of compounds in English of the form "noun wars," e.g. "Star Wars," "mommy wars," "culture wars." Why do these show "wars" in the plural? It seems like normally "wars" would pertain ...
6
votes
5answers
439 views

Explanation for “emails”?

This is a thinly veiled rant, I realize, but if anybody can rationalize "emails" for me in such a way that I can stop grabbing people who say it, and asking them if they've ever gone to their mailsbox ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

“My brother or one of my sisters” — singular or plural?

Should I use 'was' or 'were' in this example? I was always delighted when my brother or one of my sisters was/were asked to do them.
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Pluralizing “personnel”?

I came accross the following sentence: There will be 110 personnel in the store on launch. Is it better to phrase it like so: There will be 110 persons in the store on launch. Which of the ...
6
votes
3answers
974 views

“How much is/are the two fares?”

Which is correct? How much is the two fares? How much are the two fares?
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Gender-neutral Forms

What is the unisex form of a word like fisherman? Do you have to use fisherman and fisherwoman separately, or is fisherperson acceptable? I couldn’t find a dictionary with the word … In general, what ...
6
votes
3answers
544 views

In “Winnie the Pooh”, Why isn't the Hundred Acre Wood plural?

When I read some of these Winnie the Pooh stories to my kids at night, the place where the story takes place is the Hundred Acre Wood, not Hundred Acre Woods. Why is that?
6
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3answers
5k views

Are units in English singular or plural?

I am a little bit confused about using units in English, sometimes I hear that people use singular units for plural things, sometimes they use plural ones. Which one is correct? 3 meter(s) long? ...
6
votes
2answers
37k views

“Congratulation” vs. “congratulations”

Congratulation vs. congratulations — which one to use? How/when?
6
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5answers
291 views

About using singular as food

Consider the following : He likes dogs. He likes dog. (1) would mean he likes dogs as pets and (2) refers to dog as food. My question is, does the same apply to nouns such as orange and ...
6
votes
4answers
598 views

Pluralization of Germanisms

The German noun "Ansatz" is widely used (at least) in physics and, less frequently, in math texts in English. I have seen it always in singular though and now I must use its (English) plural. The ...
6
votes
3answers
223 views

Is “latte” a countable noun?

I have learned that liquids are uncountable, except for measurements such as "three cups of water." So, does "three lattes" in this context refer to three cups of latte?
6
votes
2answers
533 views

Can 'nothing' ever be preceded by a plural verb?

I've had it drilled into my head that nothing is always singular, since it's essentially another way to say 'no thing'. However, in the following sentence, I'm having trouble ascertaining whether the ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Pluralization of names

If I were to use the sentence "There are lots of John Smiths" in the world, would that be the correct use for saying that there are a lot of people named John Smith in the world? I don't think there ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

“A lot of ideas” is or are?

My boyfriend and I are arguing about whether the phrase "a lot of ideas" should be followed with is or are. I say that it should be is because the verb is linking to a lot, not ideas. If it were "lots ...
6
votes
3answers
12k views

Our bodies' or our body's

In this context: "This [subject] [verb clause] by boosting our [body's || bodies'] immune system?" In this case the writer is using "our" as a generic substitution for "your". The argument went that ...
6
votes
1answer
32k 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
4k views

“A variety of X is” vs. “a variety of X are”

Which of the following sentences is correct? A variety of dishes are being prepared. A variety of dishes is being prepared. I believe that both can be used, though I'd stick with ...
6
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Plurality of “genitals”

At 2:35 of this video, Sheldon Cooper says For the record I have genitals. They are ... How can a person have more than one genital? Is it alright to use whatever grammatical number in casual ...
6
votes
2answers
11k views

Are “skill set” and “skill sets” both acceptable?

Are the phrases skill set and skill sets both correct? As I see it, set implies a single set of related skills whereas sets can be taken to mean multiple sets of skills around different ...
6
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
275 views

Can you have a singular “dreg”?

Is it linguistically incorrect to singularise the word "dregs", as in the following example: He finished off every last dreg of his coffee. If so, are there any other English words which can ...
6
votes
1answer
206 views

“What questions [is/are] your data team hoping to answer?”

Over at stats.stackexchange we are having a minor kerfuffle over whether a title is using incorrect grammar. It has been edited and re-edited several times. It would be great to get some arbitration ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

“The contents are” or “the contents is”

I have the following sentence: The contents of those zip files are normally installed from the Setup. I found I have to use contents instead of content in the sentence. However, do I have to ...
6
votes
2answers
21k views

“In detail” vs. “in details”

Which form is correct: "in detail" or "in details"? I want to use it while describing an algorithm. First I give a general description of an algorithm and then more detailed description.
6
votes
2answers
25k views

“Anyone has” or “anyone have” seen them? [closed]

So I thought I'm sure about this and my instincts say that: "If anyone has seen them .." would be right but then again when I said it like: "If anyone have seen them .." I started thinking which one ...
6
votes
4answers
6k views

Which is correct: “All the media is” or “all the media are”?

I think I know that media is a plural word. So then which of the following is correct? All the media is... All the media are... When you search Google, both seem to appear at the same ...
6
votes
1answer
11k views

Rule on absence of the article “the” with plural nouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Definite article with plural nouns I recently reviewed (as I believe, rather thoroughly) the rules of using articles in English and I do not recall any rule on absence ...
6
votes
2answers
364 views

is it 0 degree or 0 degrees outside? [duplicate]

This is in relation to the question "It's “1 degrees” or is it “1 degree” outside?". I have heard many people say that it is zero degrees outside. Is this correct, or is it 0 degree? The latter simply ...
6
votes
5answers
5k views

Is the word “management” singular or plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is a company always plural, or are small companies singular? Which one of the following is correct? Management gets its ideas from its employees. Management gets ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the plural form of “phoenix”? [closed]

I have found several different variations. phe·nix·es phoenīcēs There is no plural form. Which is correct one? Is there anything else?