A lot of words in English are used in both forms: in the singular, but also in the plural form. Nevertheless there are some words, which are only used in the singular form.
These words count collective names, some nouns with the ending “s” and some special words.
But first of all: The collective names
A lot of words are only used in the singular form because they aren’t countable. For example these words:
→ Last week he bought new furniture.
- salt / water
→ Frank needs salt for the water.
→ Would you like to have some money?
In the normal case collective names aren’t countable. So you cannot count furniture, but you can count cupboards. The same applies to salt and water. For example you can count glasses or bottles of water, but water by itself isn’t countable. And also the same with money: You can count banknotes or coins, but not money.
Anyway there are some special cases. For example the word “hair” exists in the singular and in the plural form. And it always depends on the context:
- hair (singular)
→ Your hair is brown.
In this case somebody talks about the haircut. So the single hairs aren’t important, but the attention is turned to the hair or rather the haircut by itself.
- hairs (plural)
→ You have got some hairs on your pullover.
In this case the haircut is not important, but the attention is turned to the single hairs on the pullover. Here you could count the hairs and that’s the reason for the plural form.
Some nouns with the ending “s”
Next to collective names you can find nouns in the singular form, which end on “s”. These are words like:
→ Physic is my favourite school subject.
- the United States
→ The United States is a country with federal states.
But also words like “crossroads”, “economics”, “maths”, “politics” or “athletics”.
Some special words
In addition there are some special words, which are only used in the singular form. These are words like:
→ For further information on the hotel, call 1234.
→ Her knowledge in French is nearly perfect.
→ The English homework is not easy.
Other special words, which are only used in the singular form, are for example “advice”, “work” or “damage”.
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