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July 05, 2016

English Grammar for Competitive Exams in 60 Days - Lesson 6 (Part II)

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Friends, this is the continuation of our previous lesson English Grammar for Competitive Exams in 60 Days - Lesson 6 (Part I). In that lesson, we have discussed 12 important points about formation of plurals. In this post we shall discuss the remaining. So, I request you to kindly read that Part I Lesson from here, before reading this. Thank you :)


13.  Plural of Collective Nouns :

Certain collective Nouns, though Singular in form, are always used as Plurals. 
E.g.  Cattle, Poultry, Gentry, Vermin, People, Swine
  • These cattle are mine.
  • Whose poultry are these ?
  • The landed gentry were once wealthy. 
  • Vermin destroy our property and carry disease. 
  • All the people have returned home. 
  • Herds of swine lined in forest. 
Note :  As as Common Noun 'people' means 'a nation' and is used in both Singular and Plural. 
E.g. 
  • The french are a hard working and brave people. 
  • There are many different peoples in Europe. 
14. Plural of Compound Nouns :
  1. Compound Nouns generally form their plural by adding '-s' to the principal word. 
    • Son-in-law     :      sons-in-law (not son-in-laws)
    • Brother-in-law     :      brothers-in-law (not brother-in-laws)
    • Daughter-in-law     :      daughters-in-law
    • Mother-in-law     :      mothers-in-law
    • Father-in-law     :      fathers-in-law
    • Commander-in-law     :      commanders-in-law
    • Coat-of-mail     :      coats-of-mail
    • Passer-by     :      passers-by
    • Looker-on     :      lookers-on
    • Hanger-on     :      hangers-on
    • Man-of-war     :      men-of-war
    • Step-daughter     :      step-daughters
    • Maid-servant     :      maid-servants
    • Step-son     :      step-sons
    • Boy-scout     :      boy-scouts
    • Girl-scout     :      girl-scouts
    • Major-general     :      major-generals
    • Court-martial     :      courts-martial 
    • Governor-general     :      governors-general (here the principal word is governor)
    • Knight-errant     :      knights-errant
  2. In some Compound Nouns there must be change in both the words. 
    • Man-servant     :      men-servants
    • Man-teacher     :      men-teacher
    • Woman-teacher     :      women-teachers
    • Woman-student     :      women-students
    • Knight-templar     :      knights-templars
    • Lord-justice     :      lords-justices
  3. If the principal word is a verb, the 's' must be placed at the end of the entire combination. 
    • hold-up     :      hold-ups
    • hold-all     :      hold-alls
    • look-out     :      look-outs
    • pick-me-up     :      pick-me-ups
  4. We say 'spoonfuls' and 'handfuls' because 'spoonful' and 'handful' are regarded as one word. 
  5. Note : Proper Nouns 'Brahman' and 'Musalman' are not compounds of 'man', therefore their plurals are 'Brahmans', 'Musalmans'. 
15. Plural of nouns taken from foreign languages :

Many nouns taken from foreign languages keep their original plural forms. 
  1. Words ending in -'a' form their plurals by adding -'e'
    • Formula     :      formulae (formulas)
    • Larva     :      larvae
    • Vertebra     :      vertebrae
    • Nebula     :      nebule
  2. Words ending in -'us' form their plurals by removing -'us' and adding -'i'.
    • Focus     :      foci (focuses)
    • Fungus     :      fungi
    • Bacillus     :      bacilli
    • Nucleus     :      nuclei
    • Radius     :      radii
    • Stimulus     :      stimuli
    • Alumnus     :      alumni
    • Syllabus     :      syllabi (syllabuses)
  3. Words ending in -'um' form their plurals by removing -'um' and adding -'a'.
    • Addendum     :      addenda
    • Bacterium     :      bacteria
    • Curriculum     :      curricula (curriculums)
    • Datum     :      data
    • Agendum     :      agenda
    • Medium     :      media
    • Stratum     :      strata or stratums
    • Memorandum     :      memoranda
  4. Words ending in -'ex' or -'ix' form their plurals by adding -'es'
    • Apex     :      apexes
    • Index     :      indexes
    • Appendix     :      appendixes
  5. Greek words ending in '-is' form their plurals by removing '-is' and adding '-es'
    • Axis     :      axes
    • Analysis     :      analyses
    • Basis     :      bases
    • Crisis     :     cries
    • Parenthesis     :      parentheses
    • Hypothesis     :      hypotheses
    • Synopsis     :      synopses
    • Thesis     :      theses
    • Oasis     :      oases
  6. Words ending in '-on' form their plural by removing '-on', and adding '-a'.
    • Criterion     :      criteria
    • Phenomenon     :      phenomena
  7. Other foreign plurals
    • Bandit     :      banditti (bandits)
    • Madame (madam)     :      mesdames
    • Monsieur     :      messieurs
    • Cherub     :      cherubium (cherubs)
    • Seraph     :      seraphim (seraphs)
    • Beau     :      beau (beaus)
    • Series     :      series
    • Species     :      species
    • Apparatus     :      apparatus
Note : 'Agendum' is not used in English. 'Agenda', though a Latin plural, is treated as a singular in English as :     
What is the agenda ?

16.  Nouns having two forms for the plural, each with a some what different meaning :

Some nouns have two forms for the plural, each with a some what different meaning.

Brother



Brothers
Sons of the same parent

Brethren
Members of a society
Cloth



Cloths
Kinds or pieces of cloth

Clothes
Garments
Die



Dies
Stamps for coining

Dice
Small cubes used in games
Fish



Fishes
Taken separately

Fish
Taken collectively
Genius



Geniuses
Men of talent

Genii
Spirits
Index



Indexes
Tables of contents

Indices
Signs used in algebra
Penny



Pennies
Number of coins

Pence
Amount in value
Staff



Staves
Sticks or poles

Staffs
Departments in the army or a business salaried employees taken collectively
Shot



Shot
Little balls discharged from a gun

Shots
Discharges; marksmen; photographic recordings.
 

17. Nouns having two meanings in the singular but only one in the plural. 

Some Nouns have two meanings in the singular, but only one in the plural :
Singular
Meaning
Plural
Meaning
Light

Lights


Radiance



A lamp


People

Peoples
Nations

Nation



Men and Women


Powder
Dust
Powders
Doses of medicine

A dose of medicine


Practice
Habit
Practices
Habits

Exercise for a profession


 
18. Nouns having one meaning in the singular, but two in the plural "

Some Nouns have one meaning in the singular, but two in the plural :
Singular

Plural

Colour
Hue
Colour
Hues



The flags of a regiment
Custom
Habit
Customs
Habits



Duties levied on imports
Effect
Result
Effects
Results



Property
Manner
Method
Manners
Methods



Correct behaviours
Moral
A moral lesson
Morals
Moral lessons



Conduct
Number
A quantity
Numbers
Quantities



Verses
Pain
Suffering
Pains
Sufferings



Care, Exertion
Premise
Proposition
Premises
Proposition



Buildings
Quarter
Fourth part
Quarters
Fourth parts



Lodgings
Spectacle
A sight
Spectacles
Sights



Eye-glasses
 
19. Nouns having different meanings in the singular and the plural. 

Nouns having different meanings in the singular and the plural are :

Singular

Meaning


Plural

Meaning
Advice
:
Counsel


Advices
:
Information
Air
:
Atmosphere


Airs
:
Affected manners
Beef
:
Flesh of ox


Beeves
:
Cattle, bulls and cows
Good
:
Benefit, well-being


Goods
:
Merchandise
Compass
:
Extent, Range


Compasses
:
An instrument for drawing circles
Iron
:
A metal


Irons
:
Fetters made of iron
Physic
:
Medicine


Physics
:
Natural science
Respect
:
Regard


Respects
:
Compliments
Force
:
Strength


Forces
:
Troops
Vesper
:
Evening


Vespers
:
Evening prayers
Return
:
Coming back


Returns
:
Statistics
Sand
:
A kind of matter


Sands
:
A tract of sandy land
  

20. How are letters, figures and other symbols made plural ?

Letters, figures and other symbols are made plural by adding an apostrophe and 's'

E.g
  1. There are more e's than a's in this page. 
  2. Add three 5's and three 2's.
  3. Five B.A's and three M.A's applied for the post. 
21.  Plural of Proper Nouns :
  1. Proper Nouns have no plural. 
    • E.g : Rama, Krishna, Smith, Mary
  2. When they appear in the plural, they are used as Common Nouns.  
    • E.g : 
      • Egypt is a country in Africa (proper noun)
      • Many Egypts (= countries are as large as Egypt) could be contained in India (common noun).
  3.  Proper Noun may be used in the plural, and still remain a Proper Noun when several people or places of the same name are referred to collectively. 
    • E.g : The Smiths, the two Marys. 
  4. Some proper nouns are found only in the plural. 
    • E.g :  The Alps, the Pennines, The potteries, the Highlands. 
22. Plural of Abstract Nouns :
  1. Abstract Nouns have no plural.
    • E.g : Hope, charity, love, kindness, etc.
  2. When the Abstract Nouns are used in the plural, they become Common Nouns. 
    • E.g : 
      • Provocations  = instance  or cases of provocation
      • Kindnesses = acts of kindness
      • Kindness is part of his character. (Abstract Noun)
      • He did many kindnesses. (Common Noun)
23. Plural of Material Nouns :
  1. Material Nouns have no plural. 
    • E.g :  Copper, iron, tin, wood, etc
  2. When Material Nouns are used in the plural, they become common nouns with changed meanings, as :
    • Eg :  
      • Coppers : copper coins
      • Irons : fetters
      • Tins : cans made of tin
      • Woods : forests

Exercise - 16

Fill in the blanks with the correct forms of the plural of the words given in the brackets. 
  1. He is good at telling funny ______________   (story)
  2. Several ______________  witnessed the scene. (passer-by)
  3. His two______________    have come to see him. (son-in-law)
  4. There are several ______________   in the Sahara. (oasis) 
  5. Give the ______________   of these stories. (synopsis)
  6. The ______________   go to school daily. (child)
  7. They are ______________   of our university (alumnus)
  8. They are many ______________   on the underside the leaf. (larva)
  9. The ______________   of these two circles are different. (radius)
  10. The______________   of uranium and thorium atoms can be split. (nucleus)      

(Answers will be disclosed in next Lesson)

That's all for today friends. In our next Lesson, we shall discuss about Nouns : Case. Happy Reading :)                                 

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