When I refer to two nouns that match, should I use plural or singular to refer to them both and emphasize that they are exactly the same?

Make sure the UPC code/codes on the back of your textbook and the website match/matches.

I'm not sure if code should be singular or plural. I do think the singular code might be better, since if the UPC codes match, they must be the same.

2 Answers 2


Perhaps a little rephrasing is in order:

"Make sure the UPC code on the back of your textbook matches the code on the website."

This is a little clearer to me. If you wanted to leave the sentence as it is, you're referring to two codes: "Make sure these codes match", so you'd use codes and match. In mine, you're referring to one code at a time, "Make sure this code matches that code", so you'd use code and matches.


codes is correct in your case:

Make sure the codes ... match.

"on the back of your textbook and the website" acts as an adjective clause which then modifies "codes", and explains that one can be found on the text book, and one on the web site.

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