When talking about a subset of a filtered list of items, what is the proper way to pluralize finding only one item in the filtered set?


  • 10 of 50 found items
  • 1 of 25 found items
  • 1 of 1 found item(s?)

Should the last example use "item" or "items"? I would think 'item' since it's referring to a singular found item, but it just doesn't sound right out loud.

  • It depends on what you're trying to say. "I found 50 items, here are 10 of them" or "Of the 50 items, I have found 10". – Joe L. Feb 29 '16 at 19:05
  • @JoeL. The question is only about the last case, where there's only 1 item found and you're showing that 1 item. – Barmar Feb 29 '16 at 20:15
  • To give some more context: this is for a webpage that filters results. As the user adds filters, it should list how many items match the filter as well as how many are being currently displayed. Thus if a broad filter that matches 50 items is applied, only load the first 10 ("10 of 50 matched items"). If it is a very specific filter where only one item matches, I want to say "1 of 1 matched items". – SirDeimos Feb 29 '16 at 21:05
  • So I guess to answer @JoeL. it is more the first case – SirDeimos Feb 29 '16 at 21:06
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    There is no such thing as "the proper way" or "the correct way" to do this. You are trying to do something that English doesn't do, and any solution is going to be awkward. – Colin Fine Feb 29 '16 at 22:51

If you're going to stick with your format, I would use the singular form. 1 found items doesn't seem right. The reason the whole thing may not sound right to you is because 1 of 1 makes it seem clumsy.

So I think you can avoid the problem by leaving out 1 of, since it's redundant, and just write:

1 found item

  • In a practical sense, I agree - but sticking with the format presented, which is correct? – SirDeimos Feb 29 '16 at 17:34
  • This is correct, but it doesn't really show if all of the missing items have been found. – Shevliaskovic Feb 29 '16 at 18:17

Since it's just one item that is missing and you found it, I would say that 1 of 1 item found; singular not plural.

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