Golden Rules for Spotting Errors – Part 1 by Mr. Veeraraghavan Retd. RBI Officer
English Grammar Rules – Part 1
by Mr. Veeraraghavan Retd. RBI Officer
Some nouns are singular in form and take singular verbs.
E.g. scenery, information, furniture, advice, machinery, stationery, news, poetry, business, mischief, fuel, repair, bedding
Scenery of this place is worth seeing .
He has received no information so far.
Some nouns are singular in form but used as plurals.
Peasantry, cattle, artillery, poultry, people, gentry, clergy, infantry, police, company, swine, alphabet, progeny are singular in form but used as plurals.
Only gentry are invited here.
Nouns end in `s’ but are singular in number.
E.g. Mathematics, Physics, Economics, classics, Ethics, Athletics, innings, news
E.g: No news are forthcoming wrong
No news is forthcoming correct
Dozen, score, hundred, thousand, millions etc when preceded by a numeral are used in singular.
1. I have four pair of shoes.
2. We have to buy ten dozen oranges.
3. He bought ten dozen apples.
In expressions such as a ten rupee note, a two hour journey, a four mile walk, a five year plan, a six man committee the noun is singular (not used in plural form like dozens, hundreds etc).
Some nouns are used only in plural form and plural verb
E.g trousers, scissors, stockings, trousers. Tongs, breeches, measles, proceeds, tidings, odds, annals, auspices, assets, environs, credentials, riches, alms, intestines, wages, gallows, chattels, gymnastics etc. even though they may refer to a single object
E.g: Where is my spectacle ? wrong
Where are my spectacles? Correct
Some nouns like the following have special plural forms –
Forums or Fora
We use the definite article ‘the’ when we believe the hearer/reader knows exactly what we are referring to.
(a) because there is only one –
The moon is very bright tonight.
The pope is visiting Russia.
When we were in Chennai we went to the Beach everyday
(b) we use with superlative adjective.
He is the tallest boy in the class.
It is the oldest building in the town.
(c ) because we have already mentioned it.
Last week a group of students from AP met with an accident.
Many students died in the accident
(d) To say something about all the things referred by a noun
The wolf is not a dangerous animal. (This is same as saying “wolves
are not dangerous animals”)
The Kangaroo is found only in Australia (same as “Kangaroos are
found only in Australia”)
The heart pumps blood around the body
(e) Musical Instruments
He is good at playing the guitar.
(f) System/ services
I saw it on the TV
You should inform the Police
(g) Groups of people like The Rich, The poor, The unemployed
The Rich do not understand the problems of The Poor easily.
We use indefinite article ‘a,an’ when we talk about something that is not
E.g. I saw a good film yesterday.
There is a man at the door.
Do you want a drink?
When we talk about things in general we generally use a plural noun or an
uncountable noun without article
E.g Water flows downhill.
Birds eat worms