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In the sentence

"We are software tester, and we are proud of it",

should it be tester or testers?

I Googled and found usage of both the form. I got examples like "we are incredible", even when "incredibles" is a valid word. Here "software tester" is a profession, and adjective, but somehow I find it wrong. I like "we are developers", not "we are developer".

Does it have to do with American vs British? Does singular "software tester" emphasize a more united and coherent team whereas the plural form "software testers" signals individuality?

This sentence is to be put in a corporate brochure, so I am a bit paranoid.

closed as off-topic by Fattie, Blessed Geek, Chenmunka, Robusto, FumbleFingers Oct 16 '14 at 17:18

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    Where did you find something saying that incredibles is a valid word? It is not a noun, except as a cartoon title. – Roaring Fish Oct 16 '14 at 4:52
  • PS: Please capitalise the personal pronoun I and the first letter of each sentence. Thanks – mplungjan Oct 16 '14 at 5:37
  • @mplungjan, thanks for the edit. Sorry I typed in the habit of technical forums. – inquisitive Oct 16 '14 at 5:42
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    Ahem. I frequent technical forums (SO for example) and am irritated immensely by the lowercase in any forum. Just stop doing it or you will get so used to it, it ends up on corporate posters ;) – mplungjan Oct 16 '14 at 5:47
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    @inquisitive There's another, very good, sister site for English Language Learners: ELL. It might be quite useful for you :) – Araucaria Oct 16 '14 at 8:19
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There's a lack of Agreement (Subject-Predicate) in your sentence. Whenever plural nouns are used it's mandatory to make an agreement with its following verb (to-be in this particular case).So the answer would be - We are software developers! - We are software testers!

Besides that I'd like to add that "Incredible" is an adjective which as a general rule it does not change based on gender, number, or tense, shall we? What you saw "Incredibles" is not longer working as an adjective, in there, the word is being used as a noun, but in general terms it is not used that way.

Software tester as a whole is a noun (profession), therefore it does change, you can read up on the rules for noun-pluralization, as follows:

  • The plural form of most nouns is created simply by adding the letter s.

    E.G. (Software developer - Software developers), (Dog - Dogs), (Girl - Girls)

  • Words that end in -ch, x, s or s-like sounds, require an -es for the plural:

    E.G. (Fox - Foxes), (Beach - Beaches), (Witch - Witches)

  • There are also irregular plural nouns

    E.G. (Man-Men), (Child - Children), (Mouse - Mice)

  • At last, there are some words which have been adapted to the language, therefore they have different rules because mantain its Latin or Greek forms.

    E.G. (Phenomenon - Phenomena), (Criterion - Criteria)

  • This is just a taste of the bunch of rules, there are also rules for Mass and Collective nouns.

Hope it helps! Continue being proactive and inquisitive it's good to learn from everyone everyday.

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Testers is grammatically correct as the pronoun "we" specifies a plural group and therefore the word "testers" is necessary, being the plural form of the word tester.

  • To be precise, plural pronouns match plural individuals. Groups are addressed in the singular - 'My favourite team is...' or 'The government is...' etc. – Roaring Fish Oct 16 '14 at 4:51
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    @RoaringFish that depends on dialect (but the primary question doesn't). – hobbs Oct 16 '14 at 6:03
  • @hobbs ~ I am British, and 'government is' is used a lot more than 'government are'. Ngram agrees... books.google.com/ngrams/… – Roaring Fish Oct 16 '14 at 6:15
  • @RoaringFish "Arsenal is winning"? "Arsenal are winning" outscores it in a Google search. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 16 '14 at 10:44
  • @hobbs~ you are almost right. It is not so much abstract as undefined. One big amorphous blob of anonymous individuals. – Roaring Fish Oct 17 '14 at 7:08
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I think the main point is that if it is singular you need an indefinite article. 'I am a software developer' but, 'We are software developers'.

The need for singular/plural agreement would not seem as essential to me. I think it would be perfectly alright to say 'We are a software developer', when talking about a business.

In the same way an employee of Tesco might say,'We are a major food retailer'. I.e. 'we' collectively form a business, which is that of a major food retailer.

  • Oh, well said. I hadn't thought of that usage. +1 from me for that. – Phil M Jones Oct 16 '14 at 9:09
  • In AmE, "We are a software developer" would not scan, for a couple reasons. The minor reason is we (Americans) don't have the "<Company> are.." construction of BrE; to us, companies are singular (i.e. holistic or individual). The major reason is "software developer" is a title, not a business. That is, the phrase only applies to (individual) people, not companies. By contrast, "food retailer" is a business, not a title, and so can (and does) apply to companies. I don't know what rule governs here, if any: for example, "Bob's Construction is a land developer" is just fine. – Dan Bron Oct 16 '14 at 9:10
  • @DanBron It is a good point you raise, and I don't think it is the minor one, about American Company is, not are. I had rea;lly not thought of that. Manchester United are a Premier League football club, Tesco are a major food retailer. The BBC have (plural) got the rights to the World Cup. But it doesn't always work like that in Britain, sometimes it is 'is' - which must be infuriating for non-English speakers! – WS2 Oct 16 '14 at 10:07

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