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

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9answers
28k views

Is “a wide range of features” singular or plural?

In the office, we've been having a discussion about the grammar in a sentence and have differing opinions about what is right and what is wrong... It is a very minor issue but is still bugging me :) ...
9
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
9
votes
7answers
9k views

“Without reason” or “Without reasons”?

Do we say "Without reason" or "Without reasons"? (e.g. She started laughing without (apparent) reason(s).). Is "reason" countable or not? Can we ever use a plural noun after "without"?
9
votes
3answers
8k views

Why are words ending in “-um” and “-us” pluralized to end in “-a” and “-i”, respectively?

Where does the practice of using -a and -i for plural forms of -um and -us, respectively, come from? Bacteria vs. bacterium Fungi vs. fungus
9
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".
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votes
6answers
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
37k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
10k views

Many more vs much more / many fewer vs much fewer

This year there were: many more people much more people Alternatively: many fewer people much fewer people Which is considered better English?
9
votes
4answers
2k views

“1 out of 100 chickens is” or “1 out of 100 chickens are”?

I'm in an argument. To me "are" makes more sense. I understand the rationale for is because it's only one chicken, but chickens itself is plural. Help?
9
votes
4answers
19k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
4k 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", ...
9
votes
1answer
14k 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 ...
9
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6answers
19k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
57 views

Should I prefer “my” or “our” when the object (a kid, a house) is “co-owned” by two people both present?

I was sitting on a couch between the wife and the husband of an old married couple (native English Londoners) and they were showing me pictures of their kids. They kept using phrases like here is ...
9
votes
2answers
436 views

sewer or sewers

I was playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES when I stopped to ponder; when in a place full of sewage, am I in the sewer or am I in the sewers? Mayhaps both? Also on further use of the root ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do we use the article 'a' when referring to 100 items? But we don't use it when referring to any other plural count?

Edit Note: This question has been linked to these questions about using an article before adjectives modifying numbers. This question here has nothing to do with adjectives at all: Indefinite ...
8
votes
5answers
929 views

Plurals of “infimum” and “supremum”

The words infimum and supremum are technical terms in mathematics. Should their plurals be infima and suprema or infimums and supremums?
8
votes
6answers
58k 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 ...
8
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?
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votes
4answers
8k 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.
8
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2answers
2k views

Plural of “scheme”?

Scheme is the singular form. What is the plural of scheme?
8
votes
6answers
78k 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?
8
votes
3answers
3k 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?
8
votes
2answers
94k views

“Congratulation” vs. “congratulations”

Congratulation vs. congratulations — which one to use? How/when?
8
votes
3answers
10k 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
votes
5answers
7k 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
3answers
9k 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?
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votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
974 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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7answers
12k 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 ...
8
votes
8answers
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
2answers
5k 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
4answers
7k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
24k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
49k 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
18k 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
5answers
15k views

Is an apostrophe with a decade (e.g. 1920’s) generally considered “incorrect”?

I typically don’t use an apostrophe with plurals in any situation, but I always assumed that the use of an apostrophe in constructions like acronyms: Forty BA’s were given out to students this ...
8
votes
3answers
7k 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
1answer
50k 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
15k 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
43k 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
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3answers
2k 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
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3answers
3k 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
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3answers
17k 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
1answer
5k 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 ...
8
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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
25k 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
4answers
5k 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 ...
8
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3answers
226 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 ...