what words are the same plural and singular?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This topic came up over a point about the word "shot," as in shotgun shot: What words are the same in both singular and plural forms?

There's actually quite a few; the readiest examples are probably hooved animals:

  • moose
  • deer
  • caribou
  • elk
  • sheep
or sea animals like "fish" or "shrimp" or "squid"

Some others aren't animals at all:
  • species
  • premises
  • kudos
How about "underwear" and "underpants"?

Wikipedia notes that the term for words without a singular form is "plurale tantum," some examples include:
  • billiards
  • clothes
  • measles
  • thanks
as well as nouns that are made up of two things, such as
  • pants
  • pliers
  • scissors
  • shorts
  • trousers
  • glasses
And have you ever heard of a "snob plural"?
Another type of irregular plural occurs in the register of the English upper classes in the context of field sports, where the singular form is used in place of the plural, as in "two lion" or "five pheasant". Eric Partridge refers to these as "snob plurals" and conjectures that they may have developed by analogy with the common English irregular plural animal words "deer", "sheep" and "trout".


معتز said...

what about the word (corps)??