Category: Singular vs. Plural

The Number vs. A Number

Posted on Thursday, December 9, 2010, at 9:01 am

The expression the number is followed by a singular verb while the expression a number is followed by a plural verb. Examples: The number of people we need to hire is thirteen. A number of people have written in about this subject. Pop Quiz Choose the correct word in each sentence. 1. The number of …

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Subject and Verb Agreement with Collective Nouns

Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2010, at 2:47 pm

Do you use a singular or plural verb to match a collective noun such as team or staff? The answer is, It depends. If these nouns are acting as a unit, use a singular verb. Example: The team is heading for practice this afternoon. If the sentence indicates more individuality, use a plural verb. Example: …

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Apostrophes with Names Ending in s, ch, or z

Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at 9:17 am

Please note: This original post from July 28, 2009, has been updated and replaced by a new version of Apostrophes with Names Ending in s, ch, or z, published on September 7, 2017. Are you confused about how to show the plural and the possessive of certain names? Maybe you know to write I met the …

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None Were vs. None Was

Posted on Sunday, June 14, 2009, at 2:15 pm

Rule: The word none is versatile. It has a plural sense (“not any”) as well as a singular sense (“not a single one”). When none is followed by of, look at the noun in your of phrase (object of the preposition). If the object of the preposition is singular, use a singular verb. If the …

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Irregular Plurals

Posted on Saturday, April 5, 2008, at 12:32 am

Many nouns in English have a plural form either with an s/es ending or without. For example, when is it correct to use youth vs. youths, fish vs. fishes, or hair vs. hairs? Use youths and hairs when countable. Example: Three youths were given awards for community service. If youth is being used collectively, do …

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