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

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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
3answers
7k 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
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.
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
368 views

Is “geometry” plural or singular? [on hold]

Which one of the following sentences is correct? The geometry of the objects are known. The geometry of the objects is known. Both cases are common in the literature and have been used ...
7
votes
1answer
51k 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 ...
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
votes
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
30k 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", ...
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
4answers
9k 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?
7
votes
2answers
40k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
148k views

When to use “lives” as a plural of life?

I am confused when talking about a general idea using "our life" when sometimes I feel like using "our lives". Please tell me the correct answer with appropriate explanation.
7
votes
2answers
9k 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
1answer
3k 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
1answer
28k 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
4answers
12k 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
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
624 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
1answer
3k views

When should we use proximity rule in “either/or”, and “neither/nor”?

According to this link, if at least one of the nouns involved is plural then it should take the plural form of the verb. Otherwise, it should take the singular form of the verb. But in the last part ...
7
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", ...
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
1answer
6k views

Controversy over verb choice in “neither you nor I {is/am/are} in control”

I was watching the film A Game of Shadows starring Robert Downey Junior and Jude law when this line came up, "...neither you nor I is in control..." (I can’t remember the exact words that ended the ...
7
votes
2answers
256 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
866 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
3k 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
3k 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
359 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
3answers
27k 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
9k 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
123 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
6answers
817 views

Why is it “Do a Barrel Roll” and not “Does a Barrel Roll”? [closed]

Google search throws you a nice effect when you try searching "Do a Barrel Roll." Should not it be "Does a Barrel Roll," assuming it's one Barrel (or barrel), or at least "Do a Barrels Roll"? (I ...
6
votes
5answers
454 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
4answers
2k 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
1k 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
3answers
586 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
votes
5answers
41k views

Is 'hair' singular or plural?

When one says I was washing my hair, is it singular or plural? What is the singular for hair?
6
votes
3answers
6k 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
45k views

“Congratulation” vs. “congratulations”

Congratulation vs. congratulations — which one to use? How/when?
6
votes
5answers
300 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
2k views

Which is correct, “sales price” or “sale price”?

I have a list of items with their details such as item name, quantity, purchase price, sales price/sale price, etc. What is more correct to write in the heading, sales price or sale price?
6
votes
4answers
685 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
234 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
5answers
808 views

Spelling and plural of abbreviation “hi vis”

We regularly use these "hi visibility jackets/vests": We use them often enough to informally abbreviate it to simply "hi vis". I am struggling as to how to pluralise such a term. In speech it ...
6
votes
2answers
611 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
5k 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 ...