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UpWrite Press understands the importance of writing skills in business: We're business people just like you. On this blog you'll find tips to improve your writing, along with topics of interest to our staff.

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    Understanding Grammar: Parts of Speech: Number of a Noun

    Tuesday, March 02, 2010

    Number indicates whether a noun is singular or plural.

    A singular noun refers to one person, place, thing, or idea.

    supervisor, warehouse, monitor

    A plural noun refers to more than one person, place, thing, or idea.

    secretaries, closets, calculators
    A Closer Look
    When it comes to their number, some nouns are not what they appear to be. For example, earnings refers to a single thing, but it is actually a plural noun.
    Our third-quarter earnings were better than expected.

    Singular nouns that appear to be plural:

    economics, news, mathematics, mumps, measles, lens, summons

    Plural nouns that refer to a single thing:

    assets, earnings, media, premises, proceeds, quarters, scissors, trousers, goods, grounds, thanks, dues

    Nouns that can be singular or plural (depending upon how they are used):

    corps, headquarters, gross, means, ethics, data, species, series, class, group, staff, company, committee, board, public

    (From Write for Business, page 242, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 54)