#EngTrivia: Confusing singular/plural word

English plurals are usually easy to form. We can add -s to the end of the singular word, e.g.: chair (singular) or two chairs (plural). But, like almost all of the rules in English grammar, there are exceptions for the plural form of some nouns. Here is a list of the confusing singular/plural words.

  1. Criterion (singular) – criteria (plural). Meaning: a rule or principal used in evaluation.
    • Example:
      • “One criterion for grading this essay will be announced.”
      • “What were the criteria used to choose the winner?”
  2. Phenomenon (singular) – phenomena (plural). Meaning: an observable fact or event.
    • Example:
      • “Star Wars eventually became a cultural phenomenon.”
      • “Lightning and earthquakes are natural phenomena.”
  3. Datum (singular) – Data (plural). Meaning: a single piece of information
    • Example:
      • “The datum shows little without the rest of the statistics.”
      • “The data were collected over a period of three months.”
  4. Stratum (singular) – strata (plural). Meaning: a level or class to which people are assigned according to their social status, education, or income.
    • Example:
      • “Discrimination exist in every stratum of society.”
      • “Different social strata are most likely crashing into each other.”
  5. Bacterium (singular) – bacteria (plural). Meaning: a type of unicellular microorganism that are important to human because of their chemical activities but some of its type often cause disease.
    • Example:
      • “Every bacterium is prokaryotic.”
      • “Tetanus is a serious illness caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria.”

plural singular

Source:

  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Compiled and written by @anhtiss at @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, August 23, 2017.


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