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For example this text:

You can also add guest who's not in the system.

Sometimes I'm confused of whether I should use this instead:

You can also add guests who are not in the system.

In this kind of example, do we use plural or singular form if we don't know how much guest(s) the user wants to add? Thanks.

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I have worked with programmers. In software, generally you add a user and if you want to add multiple user, it happens one by one unless you have a feature to add groups. That said, if you use a singular noun, it won't be incorrect.

You can also add guest [sic] who is not in the system.

If your software allows adding 'groups,' you may say:

You can also add a guest or group of guests who are not in the system.


I would not prefer adding 'who is/are not in the system.' Because, when you 'add' someone, it means s/he was not there before!

  • Actually, the unregistered guest is "added" to the list using a simple full name + email. Is it still inappropriate to use "not in the system"? What's the alternative? – Chen Li Yong Oct 17 '17 at 5:27
  • You can say: A guest can be added in the system. For example, if you add Mike, it means that Mike wasn't there before! – Maulik V Oct 17 '17 at 9:22
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Some people use expressions like "guest(s)" in this context to make clear that both singular and plural are possible - but it's better to avoid this. It's preferable to pick one or the other - usully "guests" (and rely on the intelligence of the reader to know that they aren't forced to add more than one), sometimes "guest" (if they are adding them one at a time).

You can also add guest who's not in the system.

This should be:

You can also add a guest who's not in the system.

For the plural:

You can also add guests who are not in the system.

This is the correct form. You would never write "guests who is", always "guests who are".

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