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I am having a hard time when I should use plural/singular subject when I want to talk about general things.

Here are some examples that I find confusing:

1-a) A crown was a kind of hats that was worn by a king.

1-b) Crowns were hats that were worn by kings.

1-c) A crown was a kind of hats that was worn by kings.

2-a) Caliver boots were wildly worn in Europe from an ordinary man to (a/the/ ) king.

2-b) Caliver boots were wildly worn in Europe from ordinary men to kings.

2-c) A pair of Caliver boots was wildly worn in Europe from an ordinary man to a king.

2-d) A pair of Caliver boots was wildly worn in Europe from ordinary men to (a/the/ ) king.

Can you please help me figure out which of the above sounds most natural? I believe someone might say choice among definte/indefinite/zero-article is another question but I don't know which one I should use since I am afraid that wrong usage of the article might changes the entire nuance and meaning.

I have been speaking English for years but this one is still hard for me to understand. I would really really appreciate your help. Thank you!

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    I assume it should be EITHER a kind of hat OR kinds of hats. Mixing singular an plural in this case sounds unusual. I am not sure, I look for confirmation from somebody more knowledgeable. – virolino Feb 13 at 9:44
  • @virolino You are correct for the most part. However, this is an unusual case. You can say all of these: it was a kind of hat, they were a kind of hat, and they were kinds of hats. However, it's certainly true that a kind of hats is wrong. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Feb 13 at 15:27
  • @JasonBassford: thank you for the clarification – virolino Feb 14 at 5:09
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Keep in mind these two phrases:

  • A crown was a kind of hat that was worn by a king.
  • Crowns were hats that were worn by kings.

In the first phrase, we used the article a, which is indefinite, but while that's true, when we compare that phrase to the second phrase, which one sounds more general to you?

Yes, the second one. Why? Because there are no articles there. The absence of articles make it for a more general phrase, even if you are using indefinite ones.

  • A crown was a kind of hats is ungrammatical. It should be a crown was a kind of hat, crowns were a kind of hat, or crowns were kinds of hats. (The latter is a little odd but not actually incorrect.) I'm not sure if your use of the plural hats in the first sentence was a typo or not. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Feb 13 at 15:22
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    Oh God! It was a typo. I'm sorry, and thanks for pointing that out! – krobelusmeetsyndra Feb 13 at 15:53

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