Meaning of the word ground is reason.

But in the following sentence

Despite governments bringing in legislation towards this end, they have been struck down on the grounds that the additional quota would take the quantum of reservation above the 50% limit set by the Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney judgment.

Ground is only one, but we are using word grounds. According to me it must be formed this way

They have been struck down on the ground that...........


1 Answer 1


In legal usage, it is common to use grounds in the plural regardless of the number of discernable grounds. Or it might be better understood as being a mass noun.

Most mass nouns look like singulars, and are grammatically singular. Where a noun can be used as a countable noun and as a mass noun, it's usually in the singular for the mass noun - a recent answer I posted on this site was about technology as a mass noun. But some mass nouns are plural - either always a mass noun and grammatically plural, or a noun that can be mass or countable, and the mass version is the plural.

An example of a mass noun that is always plural is lees. Lees are the sediment of dead yeast and other material left when wine has fermented. There is no singular lee that corresponds, and the word is grammatically plural.

I would say that grounds, in the legal sense, is a plural mass noun that happens to also be the plural of the countable noun ground. Thus, one says that the grounds of a case are such-and-such, even when there is only one reason or basis.

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