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Can I say "needs of the hour" in place of "need of the hour" when talking about plural subjects? For example:

These changes are needs of the hour.

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  • You should probably stick to singular need regardless of whether it's in the context of a singular or plural "subject". Google Books claims 18,000 hits for are the need of the hour, but only half that number for are the needs of the hour, even though obviously the "subject" before are would always be plural. – FumbleFingers Sep 16 '18 at 16:30
  • (and after scrolling through several pages of results for need in my above search, GB still thinks it has over 18,000 hits. But scrolling to the second page of the needs search reveals that there are actually only 18 in total. Google Books "guestimates" are pretty rubbishy, but you can hardly argue with the "final" tally there! :) – FumbleFingers Sep 16 '18 at 16:34
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Technically yes, but it is not as idiomatic as "the need of the hour." Prior precedence stems from "men of the hour" becoming accepted usage over the last century and a half for teams accomplishing extraordinary feats under trying circumstances (mainly war).

Supporting material:

Google NGram search for "men of the hour"

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  • Hello, Glitch. I can't see a close correlation between the data you present and the data required. A slight change in an expression can alter colloquiality enormously. – Edwin Ashworth May 25 '19 at 14:29

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