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13

The plural ending -(r)en Let’s get rid of the plural suffix first, since it is actually quite unrelated to the main question here—it is merely a red herring. The plural ending -en is the outcome of the Old English (OE) ending -an, which was the regular ending in the weak noun declensions. As you can see, this ending has an a: as such, it did not cause ...


10

According to the Oxford Dictionary Online, both flotsam and the related jetsam are mass nouns—they refer not to discrete items but to something that's not typically regarded as countable. Thus, both these words are always used with a singular verb; they have no plural forms.


8

I would argue that "Friday the 13th" (with the the) is such a common set phrase that it behaves as a syntactic atom, i.e. something that shouldn't be split up by syntactic processes. In my experience, people almost never pause at any point when pronouncing the phrase "Friday the 13th", and it all has one continuous intonational contour. This is all to back ...


7

Is nothing singular or plural? All by itself, nothing is clearer than the fact that nothing is singular. However, the original question did not use nothing “all by itself”, and that is where things get sticky. The question asks which of these two versions should be used: Nothing but birds and a few insects was to be seen. Nothing but birds ...


4

This is one of the differences between British English and American English. In British English, collective nouns can often take plural verbs if the sense is that we are thinking about several individuals in the group: so 'the England team are in the dressing room'. Football teams are usually in the plural in BrE too, so what you quoted at the beginning is ...


4

Well, it depends. When the word input is used as a countable item, such as requirements in a software, inputs designates the plurality of the same. However, when an input is used as a generic uncountable noun, such as helpful input from your superiors, or such, the uncountable form is the one that needs to be used.


4

Scissors apparently derives form the plural of the Latin cīsōrium for cutting tool, as does chisel. Scissor is used in modern times in the singular as a verb, so "a scissor" is not necessarily (grammatically) wrong. The excellent answer FumbleFingers pointed to for pants covers that subject fully.


4

Actually, "Friday 13th" itself seems odd to me. I would write "Friday the 13th". Regardless, I would write "Fridays the 13th" for the plural, by analogy with nouns taking a postfix adjective like "postmasters general" or "mothers-in-law".


3

I (native BrE speaker) think that both sentences are correct but that they express slightly different ideas. The former sentence, including the phrase "as a genuine part", suggests that the verses referred to form, or rather don't form, one part of the book. I suppose one might think that the whole of chapter X of (name a work of your choice) is made up of ...


3

There are a lot of tools in English that are made of two parts and are plural: shears, scissors, tweezers, pliers, clippers, tongs, bellows, pincers. English uses plurals for these, but that doesn't mean that they come from a singular word that meant just one of the two parts. Consider tongs. This word was derived from the Old English word tang (plural ...


3

"Germany are through to the final match on Sunday." Your assumption A) is correct: 'are' means the Germany being referred to is the German team, ie: The players on the German team are through to the World Cup Final For this reason, your sentence (3) is incorrect - Germany the state (and therefore singular) is in NATO.


2

Here is a discussion from Language Log on the use of "there's" with a plural subject. On the basis of Google statistics, the author concludes that: The contraction there's is used with a plural subject in informal contexts (such as blogs) by people who would never say "There is [several]". In effect There's with a plural noun has become informal ...


2

As you suspected, the OED derives trousers from “trouse” referring to an article of clothing later described as “drawers or knee-breeches”. Singular “scissor” is uncommon but OED cites several sources where authors have used it in place of the more common plural. A more common use of the singular form is to form compound words as in “scissor-hands”. Both ...


2

Company’s is the possessive of company, companies is the plural of company, and companies’ is the possessive of companies. As an aside: your question contains half a dozen grammatical errors.


2

As you are introducing multiple items, you would use are, e.g.: The remaining teams in the World Cup are Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Netherlands You would use is for a single item: The next item on the shopping list is bread


2

I agree with Dave Nealon. The plural form covers the singular meaning because it's used as a class. For example, we say "one or more objects" to mean "one object or several objects". We read this quite naturally and have no problem with the lack of agreement in number implied by "one objects". As Dave points out, the plural doesn't preclude zero or one of ...


1

There is indeed considerable, long-standing evidence of the 'incorrect' usage of phenomena as a singular noun, however it is still fundamentally grammatically incorrect, so if one is concerned with grammar (as would suggest by use of this site) I would recommend phenomenon (s.) and phenomena (pl.). Similarly, consider the opposite such as stadium (s.) and ...


1

"While I agree that colloquial use allows for "data" (and perhaps thus "metadata") to be a mass noun (i.e. singular), I am more interested in the case where "data" has already been accepted and used as plural in a particular context." Then, in this case, you would use metadata in the same way as data because "meta" is simply a prefix; the core word should ...


1

I don't know if there is a clear answer to your question, but looking at the plural of the three word in question, it appears that oxen is the only that has had no contamination from other related words like in the case of 'children' and 'brethren' and that may have resulted in no change of vowel. Plurals in (e)n: The plural of a few nouns can also ...


1

" she was one of the several children who were sold at the auction." Here , "Who" refers to the "children" (plural) . Because of that , the correct verb is "were" .


1

Capitalisation implies that the name has been elevated to have meaning in its own right, not just as a literal description. For example, if the mezzanine between the 1st and what was the 2nd floor was converted to be the 2nd floor, what had been the 4th floor would become the 5th floor but might be referred to as "the 4th Floor". Similarly, say a company ...


1

Yes, it should be "there're". I suspect that speech has a role in the tendency to substitute "there's" for "there're" because the contraction "there're" is nearly impossible to pronounce clearly. I've hear people use the both contraction "there's" in speech in one instance, and a few moments later, while referring to the same event, use "there are" if full ...


1

The increase in use of stadiums as plural instead of stadia is probably also due to the fact that stadia has other meanings too. Stadia, Stadium: Ngram: Both stadia and stadiums are accepted plurals of stadium. Neither is right or wrong, but stadiums is far more common. This is the case throughout the English-speaking world, and it has been for several ...


1

"This facility has a new administrator" is the correct one. Facility is an 'it', so it follows the verb form that is applied to he, she, and it. If it was a plural, I, you, or they, it would be "They/I/You have a new administrator".



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