I know that there is no plural words for sun, furnisher. There is a reason for that.


Why there is No plural Word for Some Words like Deer? What is the reason for that?

  • I added the tag to your question so it reaches the right people. – Bhoomika Arora May 29 '17 at 11:50
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    For what it is worth, both "sun" and "furnisher" have plurals, simply formed by adding an "s". The stars in the sky are individual suns, each with its own solar system. The furnishers of the apartment had a fine eye for detail. – WS2 May 29 '17 at 11:58
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    In Old English, the plural of deor was deor and the plural of sceap was sceap. Of course, moose is from Algonquin, and the plural of fisc was fiscas, and lots of non-s plurals in Old English became regular in Modern English, so this explanation doesn't really hold up in general., – Peter Shor May 29 '17 at 12:35
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    @StoneyB this is indeed a duplicate of that earlier question. Thanks a lot for posting the link, and I really appreciate your excellent answer, which makes the pertinent point that it is more a question of how than why, and is also a good answer here for OP -- please consider initiating the process to mark this as a duplicate of that question, unless you think leaving it active would encourage some other good answers. – English Student May 29 '17 at 13:21
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    I'm pretty sure the OP means furniture. – Arm the good guys in America May 29 '17 at 14:12

The English language has many anomalies which follow no rule or pattern. For instance, if the plural of goose is geese, why isn't the plural of moose, meese?

In the case of deer, you're only able to tell whether it is plural or singular by the context surrounding the word. Other examples of this include fish, sheep, and moose.

  • This doesn't answer the question. – reinierpost May 29 '17 at 13:31

This question has been asked before by a member, and very well answered by StoneyB here:

Why is the plural of “deer” the same as the singular?

English language learners would benefit from understanding that there is often no 'reason' or even generalised rule for singular and plural forms, and it is more a question of not why but how words evolve.

I quote our member and expert grammarian John Lawler's comment to the above linked question as a learned opinion that there may be no 'reason' for such things:

Why is not a question that can be answered about phenomena like this. All that can be said is that there is a class of animal words, including fish, salmon, deer, sheep, grouse, elk, and others, but not including minnow, cow, pig, boar, goat, chicken, turkey, and others, that have zero plural marking. There isn't any known reason why this is the case, but it is the case. – John Lawler Apr 25 '15 at 3:14

The same word is used for singular and plural in many languages, but the difference is indicated by the context, the choice of pronoun, and some other syntactic / grammatical clues embedded in the sentence. When the writer does not provide suffucient such clues, it can be uncertain if a word like 'deer' is used as singular or plural, as in my following (deliberate) snippet:

The tiger stalked the deer with patient determination. When he got close and finally charged, the deer took off in a flurry of hooves and ran headlong through the shallow stream. Within seconds the tiger brought down the deer he was chasing, which he suffocated with grim finality. All the other deer disappeared over the horizon in a cloud of dust.

Here deer has been used as singular only in the third sentence, and was employed as plural in the rest of the passage, but it is not clear right until the last sentence that the tiger was stalking and chasing a herd of deer rather than a single beast. It is usually recommended that the writer should take care to avoid ambiguity and construct the sentences so as to make such things very clear, unless there is some specific reason and conscious intention to mystify or mislead the reader.

  • To the anonymous first downvoter: kindly take a minute to explain your downvote in a comment, so that I can improve my answer. This is one of the guidelines for downvoting etiquette at this website, because we don't aim simply to disagree anonymously, but to provide constructive criticism that can be used to create better questions and answers for the benefit of future readers! – English Student May 29 '17 at 13:39
  • Most of this "answer" (except for the second sentence) doesn't address the question the OP asked, and goes off on an irrelevant tangent. And the second sentence isn't even much of an answer. I'm not the downvoter, but I can see why somebody might easily downvote this "answer". – Peter Shor May 29 '17 at 13:48
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    @Peter Shor now yours is the type of comment that benefits the person writing the answer. Getting a downvote without an explanation gives no useful information because I have known some people to downvote arbitrarily based simply on their beliefs and opinions. I am not sure how to improve this answer and so have provided a link to a much better answer, but thanks a lot for your helpful feedback! – English Student May 29 '17 at 13:53

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