Focus on: irregular plurals

So, we’ve already talked about the plural of aircraft, but I feel some other English plurals happen to be even more baffling for foreign students. In this post I’m going to focus on 3 very scrupulously chosen nouns – just 3, because I strongly believe that when we’re given few objects of study we tend to analyse them in-depth and, thus, I hope it gets easier for you to keep these in mind next time you need to use them in the plural. Let’s move on, then:

No brainer, eh? Now you just need to make these plurals as much as you can and, since the rule for the plural of these words is so simple, henceforth you just have to focus on  the rule, as strategy for breaking the habit of saying informations, datas, equipments.

It’s important to notice, however, that *data is a word borrowed from Latin and its singular is actually datum. Still, data for both singular and plural is usually found in both informal and educated usage, whereas usage in scientific publications shows a strong American/British divide.


Pois bem, já falamos sobre o plural de aircraft, mas sinto que o plural de várias outras palavras em inglês acaba sendo ainda mais confuso para estudantes estrangeiros. Nesta postagem quero focas em 3 substantivos cuidadosamente escolhidos – apenas 3, porque acredito que, quando temos menos itens para estudar, fazemos uma análise mais profunda e espero que, desta forma, fique mais fácil para vocês terem estes substantivos em mente nas próximas vezes em que precisarem usá-los no plural. Vamos lá:

Fácil, não? Agora você só precisa usar estas palavras o máximo que puder. Como a regra para estes 3 substantivos é tão simples, daqui pra frente concentre-se apenas na regra, como estratégia para perder o hábito de dizer informations, datas, equipments.

Porém, é importante saber que *data é uma palavra latina e seu singular, na verdade, é datum.  Mesmo assim, o uso de data tanto para singular quanto plural tem sido bastante amplo em discursos informais e mesmo na mídia, apesar de tal uso ser polêmico e bastante diverso em publicações científicas inglesas e norte-americanas.


About Isabella Ferraro

English examiner, teacher and frustrated ballerina. Geek, gauche, obsessed with books, podcasts and the web. Diligent professional and blogger, tho. More info below blog's header.
This entry was posted in Error correction, Focus on, Foreign Language, Grammar, ICAO test, Second Language and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Focus on: irregular plurals

  1. Renato says:

    Isabella, can I say some equipment (or at least a piece of equipment)? Is it a good word for ICAO test? And what about “gears” and “tools”? Tks

    • Dear Renato,
      These are all excellent words which can be used in an array of contexts. Some might say “tool” is even easier to use than the other ones, given that it’s a countable noun (an indispensable tool, marketing tools, a set of tools).
      When it comes to “equipment” and “gear”, these are non-countable and have similar use while referring to the supplies needed for a specific activity (“High quality headsets are a crucial piece of equipment for pilots”, or “a lot of gear is necessary to go skiing”, for example.
      Some collocations that help put a figure on “equipment” are: all the equipment, a lot of equipment, (a/an) article, item, piece of equipment.
      Although one could definitely say “some equipment may have to be left on to maintain stability” and sound perfectly accurate, occurrences of “some equipment” are not that common among native speakers.
      Keep in mind, however, that “gear” meaning wheel or a machine part does have regular plural, as follows: “Aircraft landing gears can have gears similar to a car’s rack” 🙂

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