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Singularia vs. Pluralia Tantum


  1. Materials: (iron, tin, sand, coal, bread, cheese, wine, tea, water, fruit, money, hair, coffee, butter, furniture, clothing)

NB! Some of them may become countable with a change of meaning:

An iron(s) – утюг, a tin(s)-конс.банка , a coal(s)-уголёк, a coffee(s)-порция кофе, a butter –пачка масла, a hair(s)-волосок,

Fruits, teas, wines, mineral waters – different kinds; the sands of Sahara, the blue skies of Italy.

-Ways of showing partition:

A ball of string, a bar of chocolate, a block of ice, a heap of earth, a loaf of bread, a lump of coal (sugar), a slice of bacon(bread), a stick of chalk (dynamite), a sheet of paper, a strip of land, an article of furniture, a grain of rice, a pile(heap) of rubbish, a blade of grass, a drop of water(blood), a (bit) piece of …

  1. Abstract Notions: (advice, information, knowledge, permission, progress, weather, news, behaviour.)

NB! Some of them may become countable with a change of meaning: a beauty(ies) – красавица, a youth(s) – юноша.

-Ways of showing partition: a piece of advice(news), an item of news, a word of advice. e.g. He gave me some pieces of advice.

NB! * Sciences in –ics (physics, mathematics, phonetics, linguistics) are in the singular (IS) unless we put “these” and they express processes (is/are):

e.g. These acoustics are(is) unreliable. Your phonetics are(is) as good as they were.

* Illnesses: measles, mumps, rickets, shingles IS

* Games : billiards, draughts, dominoes, bowls, darts, cards, fives IS. When used attributively –s is omitted: a billiard table.

3. Proper Names: (Athens, Naples, Wales, the United Nations, the United States, Brussels, Flanders.)

  1. Парные предметы одежды и инструменты: (binoculars, braces, breeches, shorts, glasses, knickers, pants, pincers, pliers, pajamas, scales, scissors, spectacles,

tweezers, tights, tongs, trousers, drawers, suspenders) [can be used with a pair of … ]

  1. Other nouns: (the Middle Ages, annals, arms, ashes, belongings, clothes, credentials, damages (pay*), dregs, earnings, goods, manners, odds, outskirts, pains, particulars, premises, quarters, remains, resources, shortcomings, surroundings, the tropics, valuables, whereabouts, brains, contents, customs, fireworks, holidays, wages, wits, clergy, folk, people, police, vermin, youth, graffiti, the rich, the poor, the sick, the Midlands, the Highlands.

  2. Full Family: (The Robinsons are …; if the name ends in s,ss,ch,sh,x,z + es e.g. the Johneses, the Goozes)

COLLECTIVE NOUNS : audience, board, class, the clergy, the aristocracy, committee, (the) Congress, crew, crowd, the elite, family, flock the gentry, government, group, herd, jury, majority, minority, Parliament, the Proletariat, the public, staff, team IS or ARE
  • People are (люди) – people is (народ), peoples – народы

  • A number of … agrees with a plural verb. e.g. There were a number of people there.

  • 10 staff (=10 people on the staff), 20 crew (=20 crewmen). 40 police (=policemen). Offspring is(are) BUT never offsprings.

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