How can I express a countable noun together with its irregular plural form? For example, we may have the following sentence:

Find all critical point(s) of this function.

Since we do not know if the function has one or more critical points, we use the expression "point(s)".

What if the noun has an irregular plural form?

For example, should one say

Find all maximum/maxima of the function.

instead of using the parenthesis as we did in "point(s)"?

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    Writing it is not saying it. Write what you say. There are no slashes in speech. – tchrist Oct 4 '19 at 20:56
  • I would replace"all" with "the" so it makes sense for singular use. – user353675 Oct 4 '19 at 21:32
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    Do not complicate. All always takes the plural, even if that has the ultimate possibility of being more than one, one, or none. – Kris Oct 5 '19 at 8:29

Parenthetical plural is mainly used in statements, not when trying to determine the number of something. In the latter context we just use ordinary plural, and it's understood that the result might be just a single item.

So you would write

Find all the critical points of this function.
Find all the maxima and minima of the function.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks! And how to use parenthetical plural when the noun has an irregular plural form? – Zuriel Oct 4 '19 at 21:33
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    I think you just don't bother, it's too clumsy. – Barmar Oct 4 '19 at 21:35
  • So just use the plural form? – Zuriel Oct 4 '19 at 21:36
  • Yes, that's what would be done. – Barmar Oct 4 '19 at 21:36
  • Thank you for your answer! – Zuriel Oct 4 '19 at 21:37

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