alms is or alms are? !!

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mekman99, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. mekman99

    mekman99 Senior Member

    can you please clarify the use of alms?
    is it used with a plural form in all cases? some dictionaries say it is plural some others both singular and plural, I am confused ! should we say this alms or these alms?
    thank you in advance !
  2. manon33 Senior Member

    English - England (Yorkshire)
    Neither sounds very natural; but that is probably because the word itself is archaic. The modern equivalent is 'charity'.

    Grammatically, I incline toward the plural, but you would only really encounter it in a history book : 'Alms were given...'
  3. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    I agree that alms is old-fashioned. In addition to history books, I have seen alms used in religious contexts in present-day writing. For instance, there are news stories that speak of the Muslim custom of giving alms during Ramadan.
    Most of the dictionaries I consulted list alms as a plural noun. I see that the OED includes examples with a singular verb from recently as 1850, but I think that use has gone out of fashion.

    Note: Please use a capital at the beginning of a sentence.
  4. mekman99

    mekman99 Senior Member

    Thank you for your answers !

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