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Questions tagged [singular-vs-plural]

For questions about the difference between singular and plural forms of a word; when they should be used, or the difference between them.

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33
votes
5answers
119k views

Should nouns after “any” be singular or plural?

While I was answering a question on ELL, I got confused with a comment from a fellow user. After I indicated that: "Do you have any idea to prove it?' is grammatically correct, the OP commented ...
31
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is “for a tortuous three days” singular even though days is plural?

I was surprised to find out that you should write: I waited for a torturous three days. Instead of: I waited for torturous three days. Why is this? "Days" is plural ...
30
votes
6answers
7k views

Why is “letter” not plural in “two letter words”?

Why is "letter" not plural in "two letter words"? For me it's very strange as the equivalent in French would be plural but my English friend finds it totally normal.
24
votes
5answers
6k views

Plurality of verb depending on plurality of list elements

This question is also open on EL&U: “There Is”/“There are” depends on plurality of the first list element or not? Considering the amount of controversy it aroused, I believe it's past "Learners'" ...
22
votes
6answers
6k views

One of my friend's OR friends' wife? (My friend has only one wife)

Anita is Neil's wife. Neil is one of my friends. Now, how do I refer to Anita? Think that I'm telling someone who does not know the couple. One of my friend's wife OR One of my friends' wife ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

When do we use “no women” instead of “no woman”?

When do we use "no women" instead of "no woman"? I thought we used "no woman" instead of "no women" by default, but it seems that some people do use "no women". Is there a situation where one is ...
20
votes
5answers
7k views

Do you say “2 Byte” or “2 Bytes”?

Do you say "2 Byte" or "2 Bytes"? Which one is correct? If both is possible, when to use what? The same question would come to my mind for my own language: German. So, there has to be a technical ...
19
votes
4answers
6k views

Can “staff” ever be pluralized?

I am under the impression that the word staff is uncountable/singular when referring to a collection of employees in a company. This is corroborated by some online sources I have found: Macmillan and ...
19
votes
5answers
151k views

“There is a lot ” vs. “There are lot”

There is a lot of animals. There are lot of animals. Which one between the above sentences is correct? Or can both be used?
18
votes
4answers
9k views

Why is there no plural 's' after “hundred” or “thousand” in cardinal numbers?

Let's say we have the numeral "12,345". Why is it pronounced as "twelve thousand three hundred and forty five" as opposed to "twelve thousands three hundreds and forty five". Are 's's omitted while ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

Singular or plural with “zero”: “The temperature will drop to zero degree(s)”

Please have a look at the two sentences below: The temperature will drop to zero degree. The temperature will drop to zero degrees. So which one is correct? In other words, how to use the plural ...
17
votes
3answers
579 views

Singular or plural when indicating something unique owned by many

In the following sentences, which one is correct? Tom likes dogs with long tails. Tom likes dogs with a long tail. There are many tails because there are many dogs. But each dog has only one tail. ...
16
votes
2answers
39k views

zero, zeros or zeroes?

What's the correct way to refer to two consecutive digits 0? double zero? double zeros? double zeroes? Here's an example phrase: The number ends with double zero[es].
16
votes
2answers
365 views

How can I explain to a non-native why the plural of a noun isn't used adjectivally?

How can I explain to a non-native speaker that while this is correct: The felling of trees. And this is also correct: tree felling This is not: *trees felling To a non-native it seems ...
16
votes
3answers
5k views

Plural subject + Linking Verb + Singular predicate nominative

All people are a mystery. Since the subject is plural, should the the predicate nominative mystery be also plural? And would the meaning still be the same? As in All people are mysteries. How about ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do we use the plural of movies in this phrase “We went to the movies last night.”?

I found this sentence: We went to the movies last night. at the following URL: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/movies Why do they use the plural "movies", why not use the ...
14
votes
9answers
12k views

How common is the usage of “yous” as a plural of “you”?

Yesterday I was exposed to the fact the "yous" is a plural form of the pronoun you. while historically I know that "you" is actually the second person plural pronoun while the singular form is "thou". ...
14
votes
3answers
450 views

“only one in seven make it” instead of “makes” — why?

For example, thousands have tried to conquer Mount Everest. Of those who make the attempt, only one in seven make it to the top. In the second sentence, why the verb 'make' isn't 'makes'? It ...
13
votes
7answers
52k views

Shouldn't “five minute walk” be “five minutes walk” in this sentence?

Recently, while skimming through an article I came across a sentence which is as follows. The five minute walk will connect you with life. My rationale says it should have been "five minutes" &...
13
votes
3answers
9k views

Singular or plural usage for 'face' in the sentence

We should wash our face with clean water. We should wash our faces with clean water. Which is more natural, 'face' or 'faces'? Does the plural subject 'we' require a plural noun in the object?
13
votes
3answers
2k views

“Is that” vs. “are those” in questions regarding plurality

I think it's clear that the following two sentences are grammatical: Is that a cup I see? Are those cups I see? However, what if you seek to inquire as to how many cups you can see? Is ...
13
votes
6answers
33k views

Why is “many a man” singular while “many men” plural?

Recently I came to know that there is a construction "Many a man" which is equivalent to "many men". But I also noticed that the former construction is considered as singular, e.g. Many a man has ...
12
votes
6answers
4k views

They write in their school diary (or) diaries?

Currently, I am using a children's English coursebook called Gold Experience A2, by Pearson, it's for a private student of mine. It's supposed to help young learners prepare for the KEY exam, and it ...
11
votes
2answers
55k views

“I'm wearing a red PANT.” or “I'm wearing a red PANTS.”

Is correct to use "Pant" or is "Pants" better? Here the phrase below: I'm wearing a red pants.
11
votes
2answers
568 views

Success is a number/numbers game

Success is a number/numbers game. I was going through a novel where I found this sentence using numbers but success is a single entity that is singular. How can we use plural (numbers) here?
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Should I write mobile phone or mobile phones

I am writing a sentence about the history of mobile phone, but I am not sure whether I should use a singular or plural noun, I think mobile phones were invented to make our lives more stressful. ...
11
votes
2answers
8k views

“one of those men who doesn't” vs. “one of those men who don't”

Which is the correct form: one of those men who doesn't one of those men who don't I searched in Google Books and found 9 results for doesn't and 5 results for don't. Maybe both options are ...
10
votes
6answers
4k views

Are some schools teaching “They” as genderless singular?

I've read this article in The Atlantic saying that in English schools in Europe, teachers have started teaching pupils the new "they" used as a gender-neutral or genderless singular he/she/it. They ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

based on MAC address — why not “based on MAC addresses”?

Source: The Illustrated Network—How TCP/IP Works in a Modern Network by Walter Goralski (2009) Example: Bridges operate at the data link layer and normally deliver frames within the same broadcast ...
10
votes
3answers
902 views

Is “staff” singular or plural?

In the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary there is an example for "get by": We can get by with four computers at the moment, but we'll need a couple more when the new staff arrive. (Emphasis ...
10
votes
2answers
12k views

Is “A number of…” plural or singular? [duplicate]

Is the following sentence correct? A number of researchers are expected to attend the conference Notice that the sentence is using the plural verb "are" after "researchers" but I don't know if it ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Zero rupees or zero rupee on the note?

5th Pillar is an NGO fighting against the corruption in India. As a part of non-cooperation movement against corruption, it has come up with a zero rupee note. Here is its image: Now, my question is:...
10
votes
5answers
6k views

“Five thousand tons of water flow/flows”?

Every minute, five thousand tons of water flow/flows over a cliff into the river below. Should the verb 'flow' be conjugated in singular or plural in this sentence?
9
votes
6answers
7k views

Is it correct to say “0 hours”?

Spanish uses the singular to refer to one and the plural to refer more than one or zero of something. Is the same for material things and other abstract concepts, for example, time measures: hours, ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Formally can money be in a plural form (monies) or not?

I have studied that money is a mass noun, but now I saw that money can be in plural form as well. So I am confused. when we say on something that it's uncountable, then should it not be in one form ...
9
votes
1answer
720 views

Custom question lists is available for testing - why?

There is a Meta SE post title Custom question lists is available for testing Maybe my question is stupid, but why is it correct? Why not "Custom question lists are available for testing"?
9
votes
4answers
22k views

dynamics: singular or plural

Does the word dynamics take a verb in singular or plural form? In Google search, it looks like both are equally used. For example, which one is more appropriate? Population dynamics is influenced ...
8
votes
6answers
36k views

A group of boys is/are [duplicate]

1) A group of boys is playing football. or 2) A group of boys are playing football. My teacher told me the first sentence is correct since of boys can be ignored to make: A group is playing ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Plural of driver's license

I just read another question where someone mentioned "driver's license" is more used than "driving license" in the US. How do I pluralize "driver's license"? Driver's licenses or Drivers' ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

The Beatles were/was

The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960. Source The Beatles were? Aren't/isn't The Beatles a proper noun and it refers to one group? I don't understand why WikiPedia and ...
8
votes
3answers
8k views

Is it 'thing' or 'things'?

Is it grammatically correct to say High standards are a very good thing? Or should it necessarily be ‘things’?
8
votes
3answers
2k views

“Was” or “were” in sentence where no noun subject exists

I can't figure out if the below sentence should use “was” or “were”, since I'm not sure what the subject of the sentence is. Is the sentence incomplete? How do I handle this kind of sentence, where no ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Are we to use any with plurals or singulars?

Does he have any cars that are black in color? Does he have any car that is black in color? Are both the sentences grammatically correct? Are there any differences in their meaning?
8
votes
2answers
17k views

Would you like some apple/apples?

When you offer somebody two slices of apple on a plate, which sentence would you choose? Would you like some apple? Would you like some apples?
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Singular Vs plural while making a general statement

I'm having a hard time understanding whether to use plural or singular while making general sentences. Doing a bit of research I found both can be used. For example: Dogs are loyal animals. A ...
7
votes
9answers
3k views

Is “this is questions” ever grammatical?

I know for a fact that you can use plural nouns after "there's", which is an existential construction. I encountered a post on Stack Overflow today which went like this: . . . this is questions. ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

A problem with “news”

I know news doesn't have a plural, but what is correct in the following example: We must recognize real news from fake one. or We must recognize real news from fake ones. Thank you in advance
7
votes
3answers
2k views

V-ing and V-ing is vs. V-ing and V-ing are

Which following sentence is correct, and why? Mapping and combining data is hard. Mapping and combining data are hard. More generally, I would like to know whether a subject of the form V-ing and V-...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Are police here, aren't it\they?

1) If the word police is plural, then we have such a sentence Police are here Okay, no questions, but what to do with the tag question? Police are here, aren't it? or Police are here, aren'...
7
votes
3answers
892 views

“here and there was a tent” VS “here and there were tents”

They trudged up the misty field between long rows of tents. Most looked almost ordinary; their owners had clearly tried to make them as Muggle-like as possible, but had slipped up by adding chimneys, ...