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Post  Vincent Law on Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:26 am

PLURALS - Plural Noun Forms:

The plural form of most nouns is created simply by adding the letter s.

more than one snake = snakes
more than one ski = skis
more than one Barrymore = Barrymores

Words that end in -ch, x, s or s-like sounds, however, will require an -es for the plural:

more than one witch = witches
more than one box = boxes
more than one gas = gases
more than one bus = buses
more than one kiss = kisses
more than one Jones = Joneses

Note that some dictionaries list "busses" as an acceptable plural for "bus." Presumably, this is because the plural "buses" looks like it ought to rhyme with the plural of "fuse," which is "fuses." "Buses" is still listed as the preferable plural form. "Busses" is the plural, of course, for "buss," a seldom used word for "kiss."

There are several nouns that have irregular plural forms. Plurals formed in this way are sometimes called mutated (or mutating) plurals.

more than one child = children
more than one woman = women
more than one man = men
more than one person = people
more than one goose = geese
more than one mouse = mice
more than one barracks = barracks
more than one deer = deer

And, finally, there are nouns that maintain their Latin or Greek form in the plural. (See media and data and alumni, below.)

more than one nucleus = nuclei
more than one syllabus = syllabi
more than one focus = foci
more than one fungus = fungi
more than one cactus = cacti (cactuses is acceptable)
more than one thesis = theses
more than one crisis = crises*
more than one phenomenon = phenomena
more than one index = indices (indexes is acceptable)
more than one appendix = appendices (appendixes is acceptable)
more than one criterion = criteria

*Note the pronunciation of this word, crises: the second syllable sounds like ease. More than one base in the game of baseball is bases, but more than one basis for an argument, say, is also bases, and then we pronounce the word basease.

A handful of nouns appear to be plural in form but take a singular verb:

The news is bad.
Gymnastics is fun to watch.
Economics/mathematics/statistics is said to be difficult.
("Economics" can sometimes be a plural concept, as in "The economics of the situation demand that . . . .")

Numerical expressions are usually singular, but can be plural if the individuals within a numerical group are acting individually:

Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money.
One-half of the faculty is retiring this summer.
One-half of the faculty have doctorates.
Fifty percent of the students have voted already.

And another handful of nouns might seem to be singular in nature but take a plural form and always use a plural verb:

My pants are torn. (Nowadays you will sometimes see this word as a singular "pant" [meaning one pair of pants] especially in clothing ads, but most writers would regard that as an affectation.)
Her scissors were stolen.
The glasses have slipped down his nose again.

When a noun names the title of something or is a word being used as a word, it is singular whether the word takes a singular form or not.

Faces is the name of the new restaurant downtown.
Okies, which most people regard as a disparaging word, was first used to describe the residents of Oklahoma during the 1930s.
Chelmsley Brothers is the best moving company in town.
Postcards is my favorite novel.
The term Okies was used to describe the residents of Oklahoma during the 1930s. (In this sentence, the word Okies is actually an appositive for the singular subject, "term.")
Vincent Law
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