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Nouns - Important Rules for Spotting Errors

Published on Thursday, January 24, 2019
english errors


Good knowledge of rules of grammar and their correct usage in right perspective,Is the only way of attempting the questions relating to the spotting errors.

Rule 1

The nouns such as – Jury, choir, committee, council, crowd, herd, orchestra, team, government, mob, community, union, club, opposition, firm, flock etc. are used as collective nouns to denote a group. They are considered to be singular and a singular verb is used with them.
The committee has submitted its report.

Rule 2

The unit of measurement (such as - hour, pound, kilo, mile…etc.) is always used in the singular form in the structure –‘Half + a/an + unit of measurement’; as, ‘Half a kilo’, ‘Half an hour’.
Note: The unit of measurement (such as – hour, pound, kilo, mile…etc.) is also used in the singular form in the structure – ‘A + half + unit of measurement’; as, ‘A half kilo’, ‘A half hour’.
Only Half an hour left to finish this work.

Rule 3

  • A plural noun is used after ‘one and a half’; as ‘One and a half kilos’ 
  • While ‘A/An + singular noun + and + a half’ is used in English Language; as, 
    • ‘A kilo and a half kilos’, 
    • ‘An hour and a half’. 

Rule 4

The structure – ‘Numeral Adjectives + plural noun + and + a half’ or Numeral Adjectives + and + a half + plural noun is used in the English Language. Numeral Adjectives: One, two, three, four…..etc. some, all, many, few…..etc. are called Numeral Adjectives; as,
  • ‘Two kilos and a half’ ‘Five hours and a half’ ‘Two and a half kilos’. 

Rule 5

A plural noun is used after ‘Cardinal Adjectives except one’.  Cardinal Adjectives: One, two, three, four, five, six….etc. are called Cardinal Adjectives; as ‘Five kilometres’
I have fifty rupees.

Rule 6

Generally, the plural of a proper noun is not possible. But the plural of a proper noun can be formed (=made) by adding ‘s’ according to need.
There are two Mohans in my class.

Rule 7

These nouns such as – barracks, corps, crossroads, Innings, headquarters, précis, series, species, Issue, offspring, aircraft, craft, swine are used in the same form both in singular and plural.
All the police barrack of Gorakhpur are old.

Rule 8

The structure – ‘Noun + preposition + same noun’ is always used in the singular. A singular noun is always used before preposition and after a preposition; as’
Village after village has been swept away.

Rule 9

A plural noun or a plural pronoun is used after these phrases – one of, each of, either of, neither of, any one of, a few of, very few of, half of, a lot of, a large number of etc.
One of the boys was innocent.

Rule 10

If we add ‘s’ or ‘es’ to some Adjectives, they become plural nouns; as’
We have to taste the sweets and bitters of our lives.

Rule 11

Some nouns always remain in plural form. They take plural verb. These nouns have no singular form. These are -
Assets, alms, amends, annals, archives, ashes ,arrears, athletics, auspices, species, scissors , trousers, pants. clippers, bellows, gallows, fangs, measles, eyeglasses, goggles, belongings, breeches. Bowels , braces ,binoculars, dregs, earnings, entrails, embers ,fetters, fireworks, longings, lees, odds ,outskirts, particulars, proceeds, proceedings ,riches, remains, shambles, shears, spectacles , surroundings ,tidings ,tactics ,tongs ,vegetables, valuables, wages etc.
Means' — In the sense of income'. Means always takes a plural verb. In the sense way to achieve some end, Means takes a singular verb. When 'a' or 'every' is used before Means', it is singular.
(a) My means were reduced substantially.
(b) Every means is good if the end is good.

Rule 12

If two adjectives are joined by 'and' and 'The' is used before the first adjectives, A plural noun is used after the second Adjective.
Dr. S.S. Prasad was an examiner of the Patna and Bihar universities.
Incorrect: Dr. S.S. Prasad was an examiner of the Patna and Bihar university.

Rule 13

If two adjectives are joined by 'and' and 'The' used before both Adjectives or each Adjective, A singular noun is used after the second Adjectives.
The first and the second chapter of this book are interesting.
Incorrect: The first and the second chapters of this book are interesting.

Rule 14

Some nouns look plural in form but have singular meaning. Such nouns take singular verb. These are: news, innings, politics, summons, physics, economics, ethics. mechanics, mathematics, measles, mumps, rickets, billiards, draughts, etc.

Rule 15

Some nouns look singular but have plural meaning. Such nouns take plural verbs. These are: cattle, clergy, cavalry, infantry, poultry,peasantry, children, gentry, police etc.

Rule 16

Some nouns are always used in singular . These are uncountable nouns. We should not use article A/An with such nouns. These are -
Scenery, poetry, furniture, advice, information, hair, language. business, mischief, bread, stationery, crockery, luggage, baggage, postage, knowledge, wastage, money, jewellery, breakage etc,
We can not pluralise such nouns by adding `S' or 'es'.
Example It is incorrect to write sceneries, informations, furnitures, hairs.
If hair is used as countable it can be pluralised : e.g., one hair, two hairs.
Example I need three hairs of a black horse.

Rule 17

Some nouns have plural meaning. If a definite numeral adjective is used before them they are not pluralised. e.g., pair, score. Gross , stone ,hundred, dozen, thousand. million. billion. etc.
Otherwise these nouns can well be pluralised:
Dozens of women, Hundreds of people, Millions of dollars, Scores of shops. Many pairs of shoes, thousands millions etc.

Rule 18

If a numeral adjective and a fraction are used with a noun, the noun is used with the numeral and the noun will be in singular.
(a) He gave me one rupee and a half.
(b) She gave me two rupees and a quarter.

Avoid the following structure

(a) He gave me one and a half rupees. (Incorrect).
(b) She gave rite two and a quarter rupees. (Incorrect)
If the numeral adjective and the fraction refer the multiplication, the noun be placed in the end (after the fraction) and it must be plural.
(a) Your deposits has grown two and a half times within two years.
(b) My salary has increased three and a quarter times within three years.

Rule 19

Some nouns are known as common gender nouns. They can be used for either sex; Male or Female. These are called dual gender nouns. Such nouns are : teacher, student, child, clerk, candidate. advocate, worker, writer, author, leader, musician, politician, enemy, client, president, person, neighbour etc. When these are used in singular, use third person singular masculine (his) pronoun with them.
(a) Every candidate should write his ( not her) name.
(b) Every person should perform his ( not her) duty.
Each. either, everyone. everybody, no one, nobody, neither, anybody are also common gender pronouns.

Rule 20

Some nouns are used for specifically for feminine gender only. i.e., blonde, maid, mid wife, coquette, virgin etc.
Now a days nouns 'bachelor' and 'virgin' are being used for masculine and feminine gender as well .

Use of Apostrophe with 's'

(A) You can form the possessive case of a singular noun that does not end in 's' by adding an apostrophe and `s' We should use apostrophe in following situations only
(1) Living things -> Mohan's book
(2) Thing personified; as —> week's holiday
(3) Space time or weight ; as —> a day's leave
(4) Certain dignified objects; as
  • The court's orders
  • At duty's call
(5) Familiar phrases; as —
  • At his wit's end
  • At a stone's throw
It there are hissing sounds (sounds of sh or s) ending a word, use apostrophe without 's' with such words. e.g., For Jesus' sake, For conscience' sake, The roses' fragrance etc. (It can be noted that if we use apostrophe with s with such words it couldn't be pronounced well)
(B) You can form the possessive case of a plural noun that does not end in 's' by adding an apostrophe and a 's,' as in the following example.
Example The men's cricket team will play as soon as the women's team is finished.
(C) You can form the possessive case of a plural noun that does end in 's' by adding an apostrophe.
Example The concert was interrupted by the ‘dogs' barking, the ‘ducks' quacking, and the ‘babies' squalling.
(D) Do not use apostrophe with possessive pronouns
i.e., his, hers, yours, mine, ours, its, theirs etc.
Yours faithfully, yours truly, ours garden , his pen, hers purse, theirs room.
(E) Use apostrophe with the last word in following titles.
(a) Governor-general's instructions.
(b) Commander-in-chiefs orders.
(c) My son-in-law's sister.
(d) Ram and Sons's shop.
(F) Do not use 'Double apostrophe'. Avoid double apostrophe in a sentence.
(a) My wife's secretary's mother has expired. (Incorrect)
The mother of my wife's secretary has expired. (Correct)
(G) Apostrophe with 's' is used with; Anybody/ Nobody / Everybody / Somebody / Anyone / Someone / No one / Everyone.
Example Everyone's concern is no one's concern.
If else is used after these words, use apostrophe with else as per following:
Example I can rely on your words, not somebody else's.

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