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Section 11.1.2.2

Number

Number refers to the singular or plural form. Keep the number of a noun in mind when choosing pronouns, noun endings, articles, and subject-verbagreement endings.

Countable nouns can be either singular or plural. Uncountable nouns can usually appear only in thesingular.


Unacceptable

equipments

Acceptable

equipment


When you use a noun in the plural, add the plural ending (usually -s)to the singular of the noun.


Unacceptable

two electron

Acceptable

two electrons


Some nouns have irregular plural forms--for example, foot, feet;child, children; and sheep, sheep. If you are unsure of theplural form of a noun, check the noun in a dictionary.


Unacceptable

hypothesises

Acceptable

hypotheses


When you use a plural noun as a subject, you mustuse a plural verb. See Subject-Verb Agreement.

Do not use the indefinite article a oran with plural nouns. See Articles.

When using a pronoun to replace a singular noun that refers to a person whose gender is unknown (for example, scientist,student), be careful to avoid sexistlanguage. Do not replace a singular noun with the plural pronounthey. Usually the best course is one of the following: make the noun(hence the pronoun) plural, use a gender-free paraphrase such asperson, or rephrase entirely to avoid mention of gender.

When replacing a plural noun with a pronoun, choose the plural pronounthey.

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