no plural

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Anastasia, Aug 4, 2005.

  1. Anastasia Member

    dans mon coeur
    can you tell me some other world that has no plural form as "sheep"?
    thank you
  2. jess oh seven

    jess oh seven Senior Member

    UK/US, English
    fish (although some people might say "fishes"... to me it sounds strange though)
    scissors (a pair of)
  3. Nick

    Nick Senior Member

    Western USA
    USA, English
    Actually, Asastasia, these are words that have the same singular and plural form. They have a plural form, it just happens to be the same as the singular form.


    fish (the plural of "fish" is either "fish" or "fishes")
    kinds of fish such as bass, trout, salmon, etc. (same thing... the plural is either "bass" or "basses")
  4. MrMagoo

    MrMagoo Senior Member

    Westphalia, Germany
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    Hello Anastasia,
    the form "sheep" is both singular and plural:

    "Four sheep are in the meadow, one of them is in the stable".

    Nouns that have no plural form are e.g.
    information, furniture, and advice.

    All the best
  5. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Anastasia, the research topic that will help you is "Non-count Nouns." There are many websites explaining the topic (example). Happy hunting!
  6. timebomb

    timebomb Senior Member

    Singapore, English
    Fry, for young fish, is also both singular and plural.
  7. Anastasia Member

    dans mon coeur

    grazie a tutti
  8. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I agree with everything that has been said, except that "scissors" and "cattle" belong in a different category.

    Cattle has no singular form. It is only a plural noun.
    Scissors has no singular form either. However, it does not behave like most other plural forms. You cannot say "I have many scissors." You have to say "I have many pairs of scissors." Same goes for words like "glasses," "pants," etc.

    Another word with the same singular and plural forms:

  9. Amityville

    Amityville Senior Member

    English UK
    Just incidentally, elroy, regarding pants - when I was last in the UK I saw the word in the singular. Context: price tickets in a chain store labelled "blue jogging pant" etc. Thought this must be a trendy American-style usage at the time - is it ?
  10. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    You are 100% correct. I've noticed it frequently in the States. I think it's also being done with other items of clothing, such as "short" (I know, it sounded wild, but it's true! ;))
  11. LeeT911 Member

    Canadian English/French
    I don't know about "pant", but "short" is fairly common where I live because French-speakers use the English word but do not pronounce the "s" at the end.
  12. remosfan Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Elroy, this sort of fits in with my "next lights" question in the other topic, because it seems that I have a tendency (and maybe it's a BE feature as well?) to drop the "pair of" (or equivalent phrase).

    I would certainly say "I bought three pants", "Bring as many scissors as you need", "All these glasses are ugly", and so on.
  13. modgirl Senior Member

    USA English, French, Russian
    Although technically incorrect, it's very colloquial, and I speak like that, too! I just wouldn't employ that usage in writing.
  14. remosfan Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Agreed. I'd avoid the usage in writing too, although to be honest, I can't think of ever formally writing about pants and glasses and all that. :D
  15. Amityville

    Amityville Senior Member

    English UK
    It is quite common over your side then. The fateful day I saw pant I also saw knicker, pantie, brief and boxer in the singular but not underpant. I'm used to thinking of two-legged garments in the singular since I've been in France for a while but in English to me it sounds all wrong, as if you're to pay by the leg, and very much 'salestalk' in the same league as haute cuisine descriptions such as 'pan-seared salmon garnished with a caper sauce' rather than just 'caper sauce'. Just to show they have a vast repertoire of caper sauces at their disposal. Wandering back to the point - 'this is a turquoise blue jogging pant with integral side-stitched blah' - because it sounds like salestalk I avoid it like the plague and always say 'pair(s) of' but I wonder if I am on the way to being an isolated curmudgeon over it.
  16. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual

    Now you're making me think. I'd like to think I only say "pair of," but I can't guarantee I've never used constructions like the ones you propose. I agree with both of you, though, that I wouldn't use them in writing (in my treatise on the subtleties of matching one's spectacles with one's trousers, for example).
  17. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I know what you mean. For some reason, the tendency is to "singularize the unsingularizable" (and to create words like I just did) ;)

    I would never use these neologisms in everyday speech - and as for my opinion on them? Well, I just find them symptomatic of every-changing marketing tactics.

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