There are quite a number of nouns which might carry a different meaning when they are changed into plural forms, for example, arm=>arms; force=>forces. Would you like to add more? Thank you in advance!
Quarter - quarters?
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[cloth - clothes]
(1) Please buy two yards of cloth at the store.
(2) Take off your clothes.
[custom - customs]
(1) It's a Japanese custom to celebrate girls on March 3.
(2) You have to pay customs at the airport.
[glass - glasses]
(1) Every morning I drink two glasses of milk.
(2) Look at that woman in weir glasses.
[good - goods]
(1) The book is no good any more to me.
(2) They sell various goods at the store.
[look - looks]
(1) A sad look came to her face.
(2) She is losing her looks.
[manner - manners]
(1) I don't like her cold manner to her child.
(2) It's bad manners to eat from a knife.
[pain - pains]
(1) She felt a dull pain in her lower back.
(2) She takes pains with her appearance.
- The plural of 'cloth' is now 'cloths', not 'clothes', which has no singular form. The etymological history of cloth, cloths, clothes (in extreme brevity) is O.E. claðas "clothes," originally pl. of clað "cloth," which acquired a new pl., "cloths", 19c. to distinguish it from this word.'
- 'Good' is singular for 'goods' in the sense of 'something with economic utility'.
- 'She has the look of a deceived woman'.
- 'Bad manners' is just a concatenation of each bad manner possessed.
- 'It is a pain to have to research all these singulars and plurals.'
Differences evolve, but all in all, I don't see it as a worthwhile exercise; many differences are too vague. T me, it is much more meaningful to discover the associations, Ahava.
I agree that 'cloth' and 'clothes' are now regarded as different words, though 'clothes' was once (before 19 century) regarded as the plural of 'cloth'.
I think the way to catch the sense(s) of an English word may differ from person to person. As I am a native Japanese learning English as the second language, I'm learning the senses of English words in the way I'm learning now. But I don't think the way can be applied to all ESL students. It will depend on the proximity between English and the native language of the learner.
Thomas Jefferson was top notch in the
- So You Want To Be President ( a children's book)
AnonymousBrain. Brains Thomas Jefferson was top notch in the brains department. - So You Want To Be President ( a children's book)While the singular refers to the human organ, the plural refers more to 'intelligence'.
Anonymous:It is a valid pursuit. The grammatical term for these plurals is Pluralia Tantum.
arm - arms
ash - ashes
bowel - bowels
communication - communications
content - contents
credential - credentials
custom - customs
fund - funds
gut - guts
heaven - heavens
humanity - humanities
letter - letters
minute - minutes
pain - pains
premise - premises
spirit - spirit
troop - troops
tropic - tropics
wit - wits
writing - writings
This is just a selection from a long list I had to study for my practical English grammar exam at uni to get a degree in EFL.
People are waiting to help.
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