The equipments that were used in our observation were: a measuring cylinder, hoes, and scoopers.

Can it change as:

The equipments used in our observation were: a measuring cylinder, hoes, and scoopers.

  • This doesn't really address your question directly, but you might be better off just restructuring the sentence: "We used a measuring cylinder, hoes, and scoopers for our observation." – yshavit Dec 2 '15 at 5:55
  • @yshavit: I, You, We, They may not be used.. – embio Dec 2 '15 at 5:57
  • But "our" may be? Seems a bit arbitrary, but if those are the rules, those are the rules! :) – yshavit Dec 2 '15 at 5:58
  • @yshavit: Not either :) – embio Dec 2 '15 at 6:00
  • Do you mean that "our" may not be used either? The reason I ask is that you used it in both forms of the sentence in your question. – yshavit Dec 2 '15 at 6:01

Like "sugar", even as the quantity increases, the word remains singular, as it refers to the collection of items necessary for a piece of work. Just as "sugar" refers to the collection of individual sugar crystals.

The equipment used in our observations was:

Note that you will be making more than one observation. An observation is like one single sugar crystal. You are going to have a lot of individual observations.

But much better are:

The equipment used for [the purpose of ] our observations was:

The equipment used during our observations was:

Even better is to avoid the clumsy proximity of the plural "observations" right next to the singular verb "was"., e.g.:

We used the following list of equipment for our observations: item 1; item 2; etc.


Equipment, in the sense you are using it, is a list, so it should be singular. In a list the and acts as the final comma.

In context, the statement reads like you have been testing, which would require more than one observation. This would change your sentence to:

The equipment used in our observations were: a measuring cylinder, hoes and scoopers.

The list-of-equipment we used in-the-making of our-observations contains: a measuring cylinder, hoes and scoopers.

  • Thank you @lurker, unfortunately I am restricted to use too many words. Anyway, the equipment (if it is singular) used in our observations was or were? – embio Dec 2 '15 at 3:14
  • Observation is the issue here. If singular, use was. If plural, you need to use were. "The observation was" versus "the observations were." – lurker Dec 2 '15 at 3:33
  • It should be "The equipment used in our observations was". Also, note there are various opinions about the final comma. – Paul Dexter Dec 2 '15 at 4:13
  • Noun-Verb agreement says otherwise. But that is why we are a community. – lurker Dec 2 '15 at 4:56

Equipment like furniture is an uncountable noun; you cannot say an equipment and equipments. However, you can say a piece of equipment and pieces of equipment. Equipment on its own takes a singular verb.

As for reducing the relative clause "that was used in our observation", you can reduce it to " used in our observation". I think you can rephrase your sentence as follows:

The equipment used in our observation consisted of/included a measuring cylinder, hoes, and scoopers.


The pieces of equipment used in our observation were: a measuring cylinder, hoes, and scoopers.


You may wish to consider: 

The equipment used for these observations included graduated cylinders, hoes and scoops. 

In your original sentence, there is no redundancy.  "Were" was the verb of the matrix clause.  "Were used" was the verb of the relative clause.  The word "were" was repeated, of course, but each instance of that word had its own purpose and its own role to fill. 

However, both of those roles can be filled in other ways.  Rather than a complete relative clause, a simple participial phrase is enough to modify the noun "equipment".  Instead of a stative copular verb, a dynamic transitive verb can serve to establish the clause.  There is no need for any form of "to be" in this sentence. 

Another advantage of the verb "included" is that its direct object need not be a comprehensive list.  For example, I note that pencils and paper are not mentioned, although I assume some method of recording these observations was required. 

As others have noted, "equipment" is not a countable noun, and the plural form "equipments" does not make much sense.  On the other hand, "observation" is a countable noun.  It seems quite likely that several observations were made.  The plural form "observations" makes perfect sense. 

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