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

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3answers
38k 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
3answers
9k 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?
8
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5answers
6k 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
8k 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
2k 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
14k views

Is “public” plural or singular?

I wonder if the word "public" is plural or singular. Does anybody know?
8
votes
7answers
1k 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
820 views

What is the proper plural of “reputation”?

Vote Down requires 125 reputation Shouldn't it be "reputations"? Why or why not?
8
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2answers
3k 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. ...
8
votes
3answers
42k 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
4answers
14k 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
10answers
2k 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
1answer
34k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

Singular or plural verb form where subject includes a “parenthetical” element

My question arises from this one, where OP asks whether he should use the singular or plural verb form after "the title, as well as the tone," As luck would have it, when I searched Google Books for ...
8
votes
1answer
39k views

What is the proper title abbreviation for addressing multiple people?

I'm writing a letter to several recipients in the same document and want to address them correctly at the start. Is the following correct (I suspect not) and if not, what should it be: Dear Mr's ...
8
votes
2answers
13k 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
6k 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
42k 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
1answer
11k 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 ...
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
3answers
14k 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
1k 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
3answers
36k 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' ...
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
2answers
1k 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 ...
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3answers
2k 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
1answer
19k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
224 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
4answers
3k views

Is “breaths” grammatically correct?

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
7answers
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 ...
7
votes
5answers
607 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
748 views

The computer has 48GB memory (or memories?)

What's the correct form? If both are correct, what's the difference?
7
votes
3answers
2k 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
7answers
8k 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
4answers
944 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
2k 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
72k views

“Congratulation” vs. “congratulations”

Congratulation vs. congratulations — which one to use? How/when?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Why “man” not “men” in “Many a brave man”? [duplicate]

I’m reading Black Beauty and there is a sentence there which starts like this: Many a brave man went down, many a horse fell, Why man here? Why not men?
7
votes
4answers
9k views

Mixing plural and singular list items with a single verb

A friend wants to write, There is no hardware to purchase, no additional software to install and no key fobs to worry about. This is awkward because the verb "is" doesn't match up with the third ...
7
votes
6answers
4k 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
4answers
5k 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 ...
7
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3answers
2k views

Gin & Tonics vs Gins & Tonic vs Gins & Tonics

When I order multiple G&Ts which should I ask for?
7
votes
3answers
549 views

Is “geometry” plural or singular? [closed]

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
3answers
2k 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
4k 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
4answers
79k views

'Each' with plural or singular verb

A source says that the word "each" should always be followed by a singular noun, but however I look at it in this sentence it just doesn't seem to fit: foo comprises of multiple binary programs ...
7
votes
1answer
5k 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
269 views

Why is the plural of “aircraft” not “aircrafts”?

I came along this sentence: Today, we have used a large number of assets, comprising of 34 aircraft, 40 ships, hundreds of men, thousands of man-hours has been deployed I consulted dictionaries ...
7
votes
4answers
17k 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
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3answers
35k views

“Types of” followed by singular or plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Types of things vs. types of thing When using the phrase "types of" or "kinds of," it often seems appropriate to follow with a singular noun (e.g., types of rock), but ...