Source: Russia Pounds ISIS With Biggest Bomber Raid in Decades


Russian officials notified U.S. planners at a coalition headquarters in Qatar before the strike, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said. It was the first time the Russians and Americans have put into action an October agreement to coordinate their countries' respective operations in Syria.

Do you think it's grammatically correct to say a headquarters? The word has a define plural sense to it. Generally, it feels absolutely weird to use an indefinite article in front of a word that ends in s. And it should be because the s marker makes an idea or thing plural, whereas an indefinite article denotes the fact that we only have one of something. Is this an exception to the rule? How do you native speakers actually reconcile this problem? Is this something that you find strange too?

  • 1
    Similar words: barracks, series, crossroads, species, headquarters, works (in the meaning of 'factory'), means, Swiss. (Practical English Usage 524.3) – Damkerng T. Nov 18 '15 at 8:48

'Headquarters' mean the main offices of any organization. Ideally, it is the central office and in most of the cases, it is one and the only. Said that, we find more use of 'the headquarters' as compared to 'a headquarters'.

Now, can it take the indefinite article 'a'? Yes, it can. How? Because 'headquarters' can serve as singular and plural both.

The company's headquarters is in Mumbai - is absolutely fine.

So, in the given sentence, 'a coalition headquarters in Qatar' is fine.

COCA shows several examples of 'a headquarters'. Yes, it's not incorrect.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.