Singulars and Plurals

Singulars and Plurals :

This is my new cycle. It runs very well.

Have you seen the new Maruthis? They run very well.

It is not easy to find out whether something is one thing or more than one thing.

So there are nouns which are plural in some languages and singular in others.

Hair and Furniture are singular (uncountable) in English.

(i) The team are playing wonderfully well, aren’t they?

Team - collective noun, singular but plural in sense here
Are - plural verb

(ii) Five rupees doesn't buy as much as it used to.

Five rupees - plural (used in singular sense)
It - singular - refers to Five rupees.

(iii) My family have decided to move to Delhi.

Family - Singular - but used in plural sense
Have - plural verb

Family, team and government - these words can often be used as if they were plural.

(a) The team are full of hope.
(b) The team is waiting there.

Note :

In sentence (a) "team" is used in plural sense.
In sentence (b) "team" is used in singular sense

(v) Study the following sentences.

1. The team plays very well.

2. The team are full of enthusiasm.

3. The government have decided to move the army to Kashmir.

4. The Government is made up of senior officers.

5. Now-a-days, an average Indian family consists of four members at the most.

6. A Number of my students think that I am a good teacher.

7. A group of us have gone there to see the place.

8. The majority of the flood damage is beyond repair.

9. The majority of political prisoners are non-violent.

(vi) The word NONE can be followed by "of + plural" noun or pronoun.

In a formal style, a singular verb is used.

But in an informal style, plural is also used.

1. There is none left.
2. None of the medicines really works.
3. None of the guides help.
4. None but the best ingredients are used in our product.

Usage : When NONE OF is followed by a plural noun, it usually takes a plural verb - in informal speech.

1. None of us are lazy.

But in formal writing, a singular verb is used.

1. None of our work-shops is ready yet.

(vii) either : (pronoun) one or the other of the two

1. There are coffee and tea. You can have either.
2. Take either of the books.

Usage : When either and neither are used as pronouns and followed by plural noun, they usually take a singular verb in formal writing.

1. Is either of the plants in operation yet?
2. Is neither of the plants in operation yet?

But in speech and informal writing, a plural verb is usually used.

1. Are either of the teams coming to play this time?
2. Are neither of the teams coming to play this time?

Singulars and Plurals

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The Grammar Index

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