Say I have the following list:

• DataDetail – Implements functionalities of the Data detail window, i.e., accepted data monitoring on individual ports of the FPGA multiplexers and the switch.

• ErrorView – Implements the functionalities of the Error view window, i.e., source id error monitoring for a given port and the ability to mask the error.

... etc, all the items follow more or less the same pattern. Then I have a group of items which share some common property, but I don't want to list every single one of them out, so I create a compound item:

•Muxframe, SwitchFrame, Coreframe – Implements the monitoring and control functionalities related to the FPGA multiplexers, FPGA switch, and readout computers in the Link status window, respectively.

My question is in regard to the boldened "implements". Should I use plural or singular here? I.e., "implement", or "implements"?"

2 Answers 2


Since you are cleary oriented to software development, I'm going to try and answer in a way that is consistent with programming terminology (as opposed to English in general).

When we address similarities between objects (e.g. shared inheritance), we explain their common features in the singular.

Tom, Jane, Louis - Each of them has a mother who they dearly love.

The reason for using the singular is that your statement applies to each individual separately, as opposed to the collection of people.

Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff - They can protect the world.

(I would use "together" for clarity, but am specifically omitting it for the example's sake)

Here, I am stating that the collection of heroes can protect the world. I am not specifying that each individual could save the world by themselves.

In your case, you are explaining a feature (the implementation of ...) that applies to each class individually. And therefore, I would use the singular, to stress that these examples are similar, but they operate independently.

It's a bit out of scope for English.SE, but I'm assuming you're using .Net, so maybe another way to explain:

Consider your description (the implementation of ...) as a lambda method. While lambdas can be used to apply to collections, a lambda itself is written to address a single element of the collection (which is then repeatedly applied to each individual element of a collection).

Edit because I think I missed a key point.

This only holds true when you disconnect the collection from the description!

Tom, Jane, Louis - Each of them has a mother who they dearly love.
Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff - They can protect the world.

But when it is a single sentence:

Tom, Jane, Louis all have a mother who they dearly love.
Bruce Banner, Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff can protect the world together.

Now, we are using plural in both cases, because the subject of the sentence is the collection of people. Pluralization is unavoidable.

However, I have also added "all": "Tom, Jane, Louis all have a mother...". This is to stress that they do not share the same mother. The statement applies to all the listed people, but each one has their own mother (= the statement applies to the individual, not the collection)


As you said the explanations of DataDetail, ErrorView… etc, follow the same pattern, and so should everything else doing the same job in the same document.

Here, it looks as though the question is raised only by thinking of Muxframe, SwitchFrame, Coreframe as a single compound item.

Treat it as the group of items it looks like and doesn’t it become more obvious that implement is needed?

DataDetail, one item which singularly implements

Muxframe, SwitchFrame, Coreframe, group of items which plurally implement

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