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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (5)

7
votes
2answers
186 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
1answer
5k 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
4answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
68 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
428 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
5answers
11k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
3k 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
6answers
40k 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
6
votes
5answers
932 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
859 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
522 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
3answers
4k 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
30k views

“Congratulation” vs. “congratulations”

Congratulation vs. congratulations — which one to use? How/when?
6
votes
5answers
282 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
515 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
218 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
2k 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).
6
votes
2answers
463 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
1k 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
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
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
268 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
194 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
3answers
78k 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.
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
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
9k 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
1answer
1k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
14k 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
17k 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 ...
6
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
248 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
4k 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
4k 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?
6
votes
1answer
149 views

The verb agreement for “one” when used as a subject

The first sentence in "Blake" in The Sacred Wood by T. S. Eliot is If one follow Blake’s mind through the several stages of his poetic development it is impossible to regard him as a naïf, a ...
6
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

Is “have/has lead to” OK?

I found a set of examples where I expect led instead of lead. In recent years the rise in the crime rate has lead to increased concern on the part of both the police and the general public. ...
6
votes
3answers
17k views

“This kind of things” vs “These kinds of thing”

I have a question about the following text: Last week Alex Knapp at Forbes published an article criticizing my Nikola Tesla comic. I don't normally respond to these kinds of thing, but since it's' ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Compound words/noun phrases in english with different number of words in plural/singular form

Are there any cases where the plural and singular form of an English compound word or noun phrase differ in the number of words contained? In all cases I can think of, the actual words within the ...
6
votes
4answers
217 views

“His head” or “their head”?

I was disappointed to see a favorite storybook from my childhood has been edited. (Harry, the Dirty Dog; ISBN-13: 978-0064430098) I distinctly remember the text written as follows: ...but ...
6
votes
0answers
267 views

What is the name for a word that is both singular and plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a term for words that have identical singular and plural forms? Oddly enough for a computing tutor, I encounter the need for this term fairly often. I'm of ...
6
votes
3answers
469 views

Why don't we pluralize “foot” in measurements?

For example, to answer the question, "How tall are you?" valid answers include: Five feet. Five foot three. Five feet, three inches. Why the discrepancy between feet and foot, seemingly only in ...
5
votes
6answers
803 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
661 views

“One of those is flags”

Jeff Atwood ♦ has just posted something that I'm confused about Stack Overflow, due to its size, has some unique problems. One of those is flags I'd say that those and flags are both in ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the plural of “BlackBerry” (as in the handheld device)

Is the plural of "BlackBerry", BlackBerries or BlackBerrys? I am asking, because I'm altering the underlying brand name to look more like the food and less like the product, leaving the reader to ...
5
votes
4answers
547 views

Usage of apostrophe in “baker’s dozen”

In the phrase “baker’s dozen”, why does the apostrophe indicate possession of a (single) baker? Shouldn't it indicate possession of all bakers in general? Shouldn’t it be “bakers’ dozen”?
5
votes
2answers
591 views

What's the correct plural of “Raspberry Pi”?

What is the correct way to pluralize a proper noun like "Raspberry Pi" (a type of small, inexpensive computer)? Would you say: This project uses two Raspberry Pis This project uses two ...
5
votes
5answers
27k 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?