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Unit 79. Singular and plural




Unit 79; Part A


galka.jpgSometimes we use a plural noun for one thing that has two parts. For example:79.1.jpg

 
These words are plural, so they take a plural verb:
    My trousers are too long.  (not my trousers is)

You can also use a pair of + these words:

    Those are nice jeans   or    That's a nice pair of jeans. (not a nice jeans)
    I need some new glasses.   
or    I need a new pair of glasses. 

Unit 79; Part B


galka.jpgSome nouns end in -ics, but are not usually plural. For example:
      athletics    economics    electronics   gymnastics    maths (= mathematics)    physics    politics
    Gymnastics is my favourite sport.  (not Gymnastics are)

News is not plural
(see Unit 70B):
    What time is the news on television?  (not are the news)

Some words ending in -s can be singular or plural.
For example:
       means        a means of transport       many means of transport
       series         a television series             two television series
       species      a species of bird                 200 species of bird

Unit 79; Part C


galka.jpgSome singular nouns are often used with a plural verb. For example:
     audience       committee       company        family        firm       government       staff       team

These nouns are all groups of people. We often think of them as a number of people
(= they), not as one thing (= it). So we often use a plural verb:
    The government (= they) want to increase taxes.
    The staff at the school (= they) are not happy with their new working conditions.

In the same way, we often use a plural verb after the name of a sports team or a company:

    Italy are playing Brazil next week (in a football match).
    Shell have increased the price of petrol.
A singular verb (The government wants ... / Shell has ... etc.) is also possible.

We use a plural verb with police:

    The police are investigating the murder, but haven't arrested anyone yet. (not The police is ... hasn't)

Note that we say a police officer / a policeman / a policewoman
(not a police).

Unit 79; Part D


galka.jpgWe do not often use the plural of person ('persons'). We normally use people (a plural word):

    He's a nice person.   
but   They are nice people (not nice persons)
    Many people don't have enough to eat.  (not Many people doesn't)

Unit 79; Part E


galka.jpgWe think of a sum of money, a period of time, a distance etc. as one thing. So we use a singular verb:

   
Twenty thousand pounds (= it) was stolen in the robbery.  (not were stolen)
    Three years (= it) is a long time to be without a job.  (not Three years are)
    Six miles is a long way to walk every day.



Exercises

flag.jpgComplete each sentence using a word from Sections A or B. Sometimes you need a or some.
Key.3    shorts
4    a means
5    means
6    some scissors    or   a pair of scissors
7    a series
8    series
9    species


1    My eyesight isn't very good. I need    glasses.   
2       A cpecies    is a group of animals or plants that have the same characteristics.
3    Footballers don't wear trousers when they play. They wear _______________.
4    The bicycle is _______________ of transport.
5    The bicycle and the car are _______________ of transport.
6    I want to cut this piece of material. I need _______________.
7    A friend of mine is writing _______________ of articles for the local newspaper.
8    There are a lot of American TV _______________ shown on British television.
9    While we were out walking, we saw many different _______________ of bird.
flag.jpgIn each example the words on the left are connected with an activity (for example, a sport or an academic subject). Write the name of the activity. The beginning of the word is given.
Key.2    politics
3    economics
4    athletics
5    physics
6    gymnastics
7    electronics

1    calculate       algebra       equation
2    government       election        minister
3    finance        trade        employment
4    running        jumping        throwing
5    light       heat       gravity
6    exercises       somersault        parallel bars
7    computer        silicon chip        video games
mathematics          
p________________
e________________
a________________
ph_______________
gy_______________
el________________
flag.jpgChoose the correct form of the verb, singular or plural. In one sentence either the singular or plural verb is possible.
Key.2    don't
3    want
4    was
5    aren't
6    wasn't
7    does   or   do
8    isn't
9    they are
10  are
11  Do
12  is


1    Gymnastics is / are my favourite sport.  (is is correct)
2    The trousers you bought tor me doesn't / don't fit me.
3    The police want / wants to interview two men about the robbery last week.
4    Physics was / were my best subject at school.
5    Can I borrow your scissors? Mine isn't / aren't sharp enough.
6    Fortunately the news wasn't / weren't as bad as we expected.
7    Where does / do your family live?
8    Three days isn't / aren't long enough for a good holiday.
9    I can't find my binoculars. Do you know where it is / they are?
10  It's a nice place to visit. The people is / are very friendly.
11  Does / Do the police know how the accident happened?
12  I don't like very hot weather. Thirty degrees is / are too hot for me.
flag.jpgMost of these sentences are wrong. Correct them where necessary.
Key.3    ... wearing black jeans.
4    OK (Brazil is playing is also correct)
5    ... very nice people.
6    Ten pounds isn't
7    ... buy some new pyjamas. or ... buy a new pair of pyjamas.
8    OK (The committee hasn't is also correct)
9    There was a police officer / a policeman / a policewoman ...
10  What are the police ...
11  These scissors aren't ...


1    Three years are a long time to be without a job.
2    The govermnent want to increase taxes.
3    Susan was wearing a black jeans.   
4    Brazil are playing Italy in a football match next week.   
5    I like Martin and Jane. They're very nice persons.       
6    I need more than ten pounds. Ten pounds aren't enough.
7    I'm going to buy a new pyjama.       
8    The committee haven't made a decision yet.       
9    There was a police directing traffic in the street.       
10  What is the police going to do?       
11  This scissors isn't very sharp.
Three years is a long time.   
OK (wants is also corrrect)   

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