How to use English plurals while speaking in English in business situations
This article shall help you in understanding how to use English plurals in business situations while speaking in English.
A careful examination of a bundle of discarded communications letters revealed a number of flagrant errors in the formation of plurals. Fortunately, these mistakes were of only a few kinds.
By far the greatest number was found in the use of certain words that every successful stenographer
or bookkeeper should know. In this article, then, you will be required to study only those forms that will likely be useful in your future work.
In general, nouns form their plurals by the addition of s or es to the singular.
Nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant change y to i and add es. The word lady, belonging to this class, seems to cause more trouble than almost any other. You may rightly say a lady’s hat, or even a lady’s hats, if you are thinking of but one person; but if you are thinking of more than one, you should write ladies’ hats.
Most nouns ending in i or f change f to v and add es — as, knife, knives; shelf, shelves. There are, however, a few belonging to this class that add merely s.
As they are very frequently used, you should make an effort to remember them. The chief ones are brief, chief, gulf, proof, and scarf.
Nouns ending in o cause much trouble. Perhaps this simple rule will help a great deal: If a consonant precedes the o, add es — as, cargo, cargoes; potato, potatoes. There are of course some exceptions which must be carefully committed to memory. These include the following: solos, albinos, banjos, dynamos, pianos, porticos, provisos, tobaccos, twos, zeros.
Compound nouns cause little difficulty, and need cause none if you remember that each consists of two parts — a principal word and a word or words that describe the principal word. All that is required, therefore, is that you make the principal word plural — as, car-loads, brothers-in-law.
In compounds written solid — that is, without a hyphen —make the ending plural — as, bucketfuls, cupfuls, handfuls, spoonfuls. If, however, you desire to say that there is more than one bucket or cup, you should write the expressions thus: buckets full, cups full, etc.
Occasionally you will want to use the plural of a letter, figure, or sign. In this case merely add the apostrophe and s — as, bs, 5’s, $’s.
In correspondence you will doubtless be puzzled at times to know how to form the plural when titles are involved.
To form the plural of military titles you should generally add s at the last — as, major generals. In the case of civil titles, however, you should generally add s to the first part — as, attorneys general.
The words goods, assets, and proceeds are used frequently in business. They always require plural verbs.
The names of certain sciences —physics, ethics, and mathematics — end in s, but they are nevertheless singular.
Business ethics was studied by every member of the firm.
The expressions two dozen, three score are very often used. Remember that dozen, score and
a few other words of this kind do not require the addition of s when preceded by a numeral.
In order letters the word pair is sometimes used instead of pairs. This is incorrect. The word pairs should always be used — as, three pairs of socks.
So that is what you need to know about using plurals while speaking in English. Refer other articles also to improve your confidence about this.
As I said, do not get overwhelmed with this grammar part. But if you are already confident about it, then be sure to read other articles in this series.