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I am English learner and got a simple question for choosing singular and plural.

When I tried to write "Human rights" with plural verb in the sentence, I felt awkward (It can be awkward because of my own language base.):

People who belong to group B tend to think that human rights of prisoners are not neccessary.

Should I use human rights with a plural verb or singular verb?
Or, should I use human right with a singular verb instead?

Thanks for your help! :)

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    What's the sentence you tried to write? Oct 24, 2015 at 22:56
  • Wikipedia article on human rights starts with the sentence that uses plural, and it doesn't seem awkward. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights Oct 24, 2015 at 22:58
  • @VictorBazarov People who belong to group B tend to think that human rights of prisoners are not neccessary.
    – uwu
    Oct 24, 2015 at 22:59
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    You're welcome. Also, it is commonly accepted that "rights" either exist or don't, they cannot be seen as "necessary" or "required". They can be respected, violated, etc., but they cannot be removed or added. They are viewed as part of the universe. So, in your sentence, what people of group B tend to think is likely that rights don't need to be respected or that prisoners don't have certain rights. "Necessary" is misplaced. Oct 24, 2015 at 23:06

1 Answer 1

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According to the Oxford dictionary, the word "human" is relatig to:

Relating to or characteristic of humankind: -the human body -the complex nature of the human mind

therefore the expressions: "human right" (meaning one right in particular) or "human rights" (many rights all together) are both correct.

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  • I don't think Jason is asking whether "human right" or "human rights" is correct; he's asking whether to use a plural verb conjugation with the phrase "human rights".
    – stangdon
    Oct 27, 2015 at 20:28

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