Category: Singular vs. Plural

Tackling More Tricky Word Choices: Another Look at Number Is and Number Are

Posted on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at 8:30 am

Recently we’ve been reviewing word choices with nuances worthy of noting. Understanding subtleties of meaning and usage makes the instruments in our toolboxes even sharper for precise and eloquent writing. Today we’ll look at another English-usage item that can sometimes be tricky even for experienced communicators. When using the word number as a collective noun for countable …

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Sentence Subjects: Looking Past Nouns and Strict Verb Agreement

Posted on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at 12:58 am

Sentence subjects are typically obvious in English grammar. Many are nouns, and they take corresponding plural or singular verbs. How then do we identify and explain the parts of speech in the following sentences? 1. Buying houses and flipping them has been netting him a small fortune. 2. To be alone is to find true …

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Collecting the Truth About Collective Nouns

Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at 10:00 am

American English offers us words as tools for efficient and clear communication. One such tool is the collective noun, a noun that is singular in form but singular or plural in meaning depending on the context. A collective noun represents a group of people, animals, or things. Examples include: band flock bunch crowd herd fleet …

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Apostrophes with Names Ending in s, ch, or z

Posted on Thursday, September 7, 2017, at 8:02 pm

Are you confused about how to show the plural and the possessive of certain names? Maybe you know to write I met the Smiths, I drove Brenda Smith’s Ferrari, and I visited the Smiths’ house. But what if the name is Sanchez or Church or Williams? Rule: To show the plural of a name that ends with a ch, s, or z sound, add es. If a name ends …

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When to Add s to a Verb

Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at 3:08 pm

If you feel confident about forming plurals in English by adding an s or es at the end of the word, we're about to make you feel a little wobbly. Although most noun plurals are formed this way, only verbs with a third-person singular noun or pronoun (he, she, boat, courage) as a subject ever have …

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