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

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26
votes
9answers
20k views

Are collective nouns always plural, or are certain ones singular?

I'd say Microsoft have a way of bending the rules and I know that McLaren have won the championship. While this sounds strange, I believe it is correct English (sorry, I'm not native). But when it's ...
98
votes
9answers
12k views

What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym?

For example, if I wanted to write the equivalent of There are many automated teller machines in this city. Would it be There are many ATMs in this city. or There are many ATM's in ...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

Pluralization rule for “five-year-old children”, “20 pound note”, “10 mile run”

Why are year, pound and mile in the singular form in the phrases below? five-year-old children 20 pound note 10 mile run Is that because they're acting as adjectives, which are always invariable ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Singular or plural following a list

Can anyone tell me if I should use inspire or inspires in this phrase? An extraordinary leader whose vision, values, integrity and boundless curiosity inspires all who follow in his footsteps.
14
votes
3answers
881 views

“User accounts” or “users account”

Is it correct to say user accounts or users account when referring to the accounts any user has on a site like this one? In general, in the case of a noun that is used as adjective for the noun that ...
14
votes
4answers
17k views

Is “staff” plural?

Which one of these two statements is correct? Our staff do ... Our staff does ... Is staffs correct?
11
votes
6answers
2k views

“None” as plural indefinite pronoun

In my grammar book (English Grammar, HarperCollins Publishers), I read that none is occasionally treated as plural, but it is usually regarded as singular. Can you give me an example of sentence where ...
20
votes
2answers
16k views

A number of questions “has been” or “have been” asked?

Formally, is it correct to write: A number of questions has been asked here. or: A number of questions have been asked here. As a non-native speaker of English, I would prefer the former: ...
20
votes
7answers
8k views

Should we use plural or singular for a fraction of a mile?

I have seen people say both 0.25 mile and 0.25 miles. Should we use plural or singular for a fraction of a mile?
44
votes
7answers
2k views

Is “data” considered singular or plural?

Related to this question and this question. My non-native English speaking friend just asked me: Data is ... or Data are ... I said both but that's because I've been desensitized from ...
18
votes
5answers
39k views

Is “there're” (similar to “there's”) a correct contraction?

Q: "Do you have any juice?" A: "Yes, there's some in the fridge." Sounds perfectly fine to me, but: Q: "Do you have any towels?" A: "Yes, there's some in the closet." Does not. I asked ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

“On their back” or “on their backs”?

After the therapy, eight children (43%) became able to crawl/move on their back. Or should I use "on their backs"? Singular because each child only has one back, or plural because we're dealing ...
29
votes
8answers
27k views

Plurals of acronyms, letters, numbers — use an apostrophe or not?

When I was in high school back in the 1970s, I was taught that to make a plural of an acronym, a letter, or a number, one should add an apostrophe and "s". Like I would have written this sentence, ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

“Neither Michael nor Albert is correct” or “Neither Michael nor Albert are correct”?

What is the correct sentence? Neither Michael nor Albert is correct. Neither Michael nor Albert are correct.
21
votes
5answers
1k views

Words that are pluralized in the middle?

This is purely a curiosity, but I'm fascinated by mid-word pluralization, even if the word in question is a compound word. For example, passersby or standersby. No others have occurred to me. Can ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Correct plural form of a zero quantified noun

When using zero as a quantifier, is it correct to use the singular form on the object of the quantifier, or the plural form? It sounds confusing when I put it that way, but what I mean is: Which is ...
20
votes
3answers
7k views

Person, Persons, People, Peoples

Can you please clarify the relation and differences between these nouns? For example, is it proper to use "persons" instead of "people"? Are they the same? As I believe that "people" is plural, how ...
21
votes
6answers
42k views

Which is correct, “neither is” or “neither are”?

Bob: "Can I set the font color? Can I customize the text?" Frank: "Neither of these options is available. Sorry!" Is "neither is" always correct or should one use "neither are" in some cases and ...
9
votes
4answers
10k views

What is the proper way to write the plural of a single letter? (another apostrophe question)

When writing (a blog post, script, etc..) what is the proper way to indicate two or more instances of a single letter? For instance, in Monty Python's Bookshop Sketch: C: I wonder if you might ...
51
votes
8answers
5k views

Is -1 singular or plural?

Do we say "-1 thing" or "-1 things"? Edit: I am interested in both of these cases: "two things minus one thing(s)" and the quantity "minus/negative one thing(s)." Bounty: While there are some good ...
11
votes
4answers
11k views

There are no comments / There is no comment

Which is correct? * "There are no comments." * "There is no comment." Which would you use for a web application, i.e. what to display when a blog post or an article has no comment attached? ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Apostrophe in “beginners guide”

In the phrase beginners guide to …, where should the apostrophe go? Beginner’s Guide to […] Beginners’ Guide to […] In my particular case, this is the title for a presentation so there are ...
18
votes
7answers
1k views

Which style of Latin plurals should I use?

Many Latin words in English have both Latin-style plurals and English-style plurals: referendum – referendums, referenda. minimum – minimums, minima. gymnasium – gymnasiums, gymnasia. ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

“Those who qualify will be awarded a certificate” or “those who qualify will be awarded certificates”?

All my life, I have been confused with choosing plural or singular form to represent one-one correspondence notion. Only those who qualify will be awarded a certificate. or Only those who ...
7
votes
6answers
26k 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 ...
23
votes
8answers
21k views

“There is/are more than one”. What's the difference?

While adding to an Answer to this question, I needed to use the above phrase, and I suddenly realised I was unsure whether to write "is" or "are". There is more than one way to skin a cat. If there ...
18
votes
5answers
5k views

Types of things vs. types of thing

When speaking precisely or technically, one would say that "Homo erectus and homo sapiens are two species of hominid" rather than "Homo erectus and homo sapiens are two species of hominids." The ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

How to indicate possession by e.g. passers-by, mothers-in-law

I'm quite fond of internal pluralisation, such as passers-by, mothers-in-law, or even Chambers of Commerce. However, I've recently realised that I've no idea how to indicate possession in such a ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Is the word “data” now considered singular, or still plural?

I know that the singular of data is datum. I know that data is a plural. However, common usage of the word "data" suggests it is used as a "collection of data". Here is [the collection of] data. ...
10
votes
1answer
402 views

Data is/are in a global context

I have been commissioned to script a series of brief videos on the importance of data accuracy and consistency. The videos are directed to employees of a company with offices around the ...
4
votes
3answers
27k 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 that ...
3
votes
2answers
778 views

Irregular plurality situations in English

Why do some nouns in English not take the plurality suffix in the plural form? Could you give me a list of plural nouns which don't take "-(e)s" suffix? For example, I know about "fish" and "sheep".
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Family name pluralization

When pluralizing family (last) names that also happen to be common English words, does the pluralization follow the same rules as the common word? For example, "the Smith family" can be pluralized as ...
4
votes
3answers
11k views

“A number of students” vs. “the number of students” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: A number of questions “has been” or “have been” asked? From the grammatical view both are correct, but please explain the difference in meaning: ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it: My apples and orange are/is wrong?

Simple question: My apples and orange are wrong or My apples and orange is wrong I am not a native English speaker, and I am having some trouble choosing between plural are or singular is ...
2
votes
1answer
240 views

should a list of tokens be called a “token list” or a “tokens list” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “User accounts” or “users account?” I ask because a list of tasks would usually be called a "task list". However a list or previous winners of a ...
32
votes
9answers
3k views

“1 in 10 are” or “1 in 10 is”?

Take the examples: "One in ten children are dyslexic." "One in ten children is dyslexic." "One in ten children has dyslexia." "One in ten children have dyslexia." The "one" is singular so 2 and 3 ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

Should nouns borrowed from Japanese be pluralized?

As someone who has watched a lot of subtitled Japanese animation, it seems odd to hear a word such as ninja (used in the plural) in the dialogue and see it transliterated as ninjas. It somehow seems ...
7
votes
4answers
7k 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?
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 ...
4
votes
5answers
210 views

“BookList” or “booksList?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: “User accounts” or “users account?” Is it correct to say “lesson count” or “lessons count”? I'm wondering wether or ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

When a sentence uses an optional plural, should the rest of the sentence treat it as singular or plural?

Consider the following sentence: We assume that the individual(s) possesses some general knowledge of the rules of football. Is "possesses" correct there? Should it be "possess"? Is the rule ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Plural/singular verb agreement with units

When writing about specific quantities, should the verb reflect a singular or a plural value? Do abbreviations vs. spelled-out words make any difference? I took 2 ml of water, which was/were then ...
2
votes
0answers
261 views

Is the usage of “are” correct when referring to a team/group/band? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is staff plural? It always sounds wrong to me when people refer to a a proper team/group/band/etc in plural form, e.g.: Nirvana are the creators of grunge. The ...
41
votes
7answers
3k views

Was “book” to “beek” as “foot” is to “feet”?

"Foot" is a curious word in English because it is pluralized in an unusual way; the "oo" in the word is changed to "ee". Did this once use to be a standard way of pluralizing things in English (or a ...
7
votes
3answers
13k views

“A total of 10 babies is…” vs. “a total of 10 babies are…” vs. “Ten babies in total are…”

Which one is the correct one? A total of 10 babies is sleeping. (A) A total of 10 babies are sleeping. (B) Ten babies in total are sleeping. (C) For me, both (A) and (C) are correct. ...
26
votes
7answers
3k views

What is the correct plural of octopus?

What is the correct plural of octopus?
18
votes
2answers
876 views

Why don't we use the indefinite article with 'software'?

Generally, one doesn't use the indefinite article with a noun because it's plural, but sometimes you get nouns where, for some reason, the indefinite article isn't used even though the noun is ...
2
votes
2answers
25k views

Is “group” singular or plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is a company always plural, or are small companies singular? When I'm referring to a group of multiple things, should it be considered singular or plural for the ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “ ’s ” ever correct for pluralization?

A relatively modern dictionary (I don’t know which one, because we’ve cut out the pages and used them as wallpaper in our bathroom, but I know it’s less than 20 years old) indicates that R’s is one ...