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Discussion in 'English Only' started by bg1996, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. bg1996

    bg1996 Senior Member

    "Cataracts is a condition that affects the transparency of the lenses."

    Why does "is" appear here? not "are"?
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    While "cataract" describes the phenomenon, the name of the condition/disease is "cataracts." This is also the case with "shingles," I believe.
  3. Ecossaise Senior Member

    Turn it round: A condition [that affects the transparency of the lenses] is cataracts.

    "is" relates to condition.
  4. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Cataracts is a name. So is the Rolling Stones, which is a very famous band. And the Seychelles is an archipelago and a nation. The Doldrums is a legendary weather phenomenon.
  5. xtrasystole

    xtrasystole Senior Member

    Also: 'the United States is a great country'.
  6. fatbaby Senior Member

    China Chinese
    Is Cataract or cataracts the name of disease of eyes?
    According to Collins Cobuild: Cataracts usually develop because of old age or illness.
    According to online Longman: Cataract is a medical condition that causes the lens of your eye to become white, so that you slowly lose your sight.
    So, I guess both cataracts and cataract mean same thing, if you use plural form, a regular verb follows, if you use singular form then verb+S.
    What do you think?
  7. bg1996

    bg1996 Senior Member

    Thanks, all.
    As what fatbaby said, this's also from my dictionary:
    "Cataracts are layers over a person's eyes that prevent them from seeing properly."
    "A cataract is a layer..."
    And in OED, the word is referred to as a count noun.

    So, "Cataracts is a condition that affects the transparency of the lenses." is wrong or a typo, though it's also from my Collins dictionary.
  8. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    There are lots of diseases that end in -s but are singular:
    - Measles is (not) a life-threatening disease.
    - Mumps is (not) a life-threatening disease.
    - Shingles is (not) a life-threating disease.
    - Cataracts is (not) a life-threatening disease.

    The Oxford English Dictionary says that measles and mumps are 'in plural form, usually with singular concord'. It doesn't make any similar comment on shingles or cataracts, but I think they are commonly used in the same way.
  9. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Opacity in one eye is a cataract. I have never heard of a measle, a mump, or a shingle (for a pustule, or whatever). There is such a thing as a pock, but usually pox is taken as singular.
  10. takiakos76 Senior Member

    Hm, confusing... in the above posts (and also elsewhere) you can see cataracts both used as plural and singular. My guesses, to summarize:
    - He has a cataract ==> has it in one eye only
    - His cataracts are not looking good ==> has them definitely in both eyes?
    - His cataracts is getting worse ==> he has the disease, either in one or in both eyes


  11. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    In this context, "His cataracts is" sounds odd, but:

    Cataracts mainly affects older adults.:tick:
  12. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I'm pretty sure "cataracts" is plural for me:
    His cataracts are getting worse.
    Cataracts mainly affect older adults.
  13. Edinburgher Senior Member

    German/English bilingual
    :thumbsup::thumbsup: Me too.
    The word is not in the same category as mumps, measles, and shingles. We can have a cataract, but not a mump, a measle, or a shingle.
    I would not say "Cataracts is a disease", and I wouldn't say "Cataracts are a disease" either. They are instances or manifestations of a condition, and although the condition can be described in an abstract way as "cataracts", we would not say "John has cataracts" when he has only one cataract.

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