Please consider the following examples:

The size/sizes of the planets is/are written here.
The door/doors of a 100 houses is/are 100Kg.
Men's nose/noses is/are bigger than that/those of women.

Which ones are correct? Is there a rule? In every example the attribute is singular. Every planet has only one size. Every house has only 1 door. Needless to say, every man or woman has 1 nose.

I encourage you to google the phrase, "sizes of planets." You will find both usages, "size" and "sizes".


If you turn the sentence around it’s easier to see the answer.

The planets’ sizes are written here (many so it’s ‘they are’)

The planet’s size is written here (meaning, one planet so it’s ‘it is’)

The doors of 100 houses are 100kg (you mean, ‘weigh 100kg?’ (many doors = they are)

Mens’ noses are bigger than those of women (men’s noses - they are - plural) (those of women = women’s noses = plural ‘those’)

| improve this answer | |
  • what about when each house has 2 or more doors? Then we say the doors of 100 houses. And when each house has 1 door, again doors? Doesn't make sense to me. The planets are plural. My question is about size/sizes for planets(plural). Also from men's noses somehow it can be understood that each man has multiple noses. – Mansour Zayer Jan 17 '19 at 11:15
  • 2
    @MansourZayer: "men's noses" is just ambiguous in English: it doesn't tell you how many noses each man has. It could be understood that each man has multiple noses, but the context generally makes it clear that this isn't what is meant. English doesn't have a distinct way of expressing the concept of "distributive plurals". – herisson Jan 17 '19 at 12:23
  • You are talking about ‘the doors of 100 houses’. Not just 1 door. – Jelila Jan 17 '19 at 17:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.