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    #1

    Unhappy Need help with nouns that have identical singular and plural forms

    Hi

    I understand that some nouns look the same, whether in singular or plural, for example, the words "sheep", "deer" and "fish".

    What I have trouble with are those nouns that, in their plural meaning, can either retain their singular form, or have a plural form, for example, the word "buffalo" in plural, can be "buffalo" or "buffaloes".

    Is there a special / preferred circumstance in which I have to use the plural form that is identical to the singular form?

    I came across these sentences and found them weird, although I assume they are correct (are they?)...

    1) The Reserve is a photographer’s and naturalist’s paradise with abundant elephant, buffalo, giraffe, lion and cheetah alongside the migratory wildebeest and zebra.

    2) Troops of several hundred olive baboon appear alongside Sykes monkey and short-eared galago.

    It would seem more natural (to me, at least) to write:

    1) The Reserve is a photographer’s and naturalist’s paradise with abundant elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, lions and cheetahs alongside the migratory wildebeest and zebras.

    2) Troops of several hundred olive baboons appear alongside Sykes monkeys and short-eared galagos.

    If both are correct, is there a preferred choice? And if written in the same paragraph or piece of writing, must one style be maintained throughout?

    I'd really appreciate some advice on this matter. Thanks

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    #2

    Re: Need help with nouns that have identical singular and plural forms

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Sugar Please:

    I look forward to someone giving us an answer from a modern book.

    I found some fascinating information from a masterpiece * written in the early 1930s. To the best of my knowledge, this information is still valid.

    The scholar says that "[In] the case of gregarious animals [animals that live in flocks] ... the plurals without -s are still common, even increasing." [Remember: this was written in the early 1930s.]

    The scholar says that "The singular form is widely employed by hunters of game as a plural." He then gives many examples. Here are just two:

    "I shot two elk and some antelope." (written by President Theodore Roosevelt)
    ""There was plenty of lion about this camp, but few buffalo." (Mary Hastings Bradley)

    The scholar reminds us, however, that in "[I]n older English, the idea of separate individuals was still firm in a number of cases. For example, "We ate the carps." (Jonathan Swift, the famous writer. He died in 1745.)

    Writing in the early 1930s, the scholar said: "Usage here is very capricious." [My translation: No one can predict which form an author will choose.]


    James


    Credit for this information goes to Professor George Oliver Curme in his two-volume masterpiece A Grammar of the English Language, originally published by D.C. Heath and Company.
    Last edited by TheParser; 20-Nov-2014 at 16:52. Reason: vocabulary

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    #3

    Re: Need help with nouns that have identical singular and plural forms

    1. I would write the same sentence using the singular forms. I can't say I would ever use "buffaloes." I regard "buffalo" like "deer." One buffalo, five buffalo.

    2. I agree that "baboons" should be used.
    Last edited by SoothingDave; 20-Nov-2014 at 17:27. Reason: typo

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    #4

    Re: Need help with nouns that have identical singular and plural forms

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    One buffalos
    Really?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: Need help with nouns that have identical singular and plural forms

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Really?
    No. Typo.

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    #6

    Re: Need help with nouns that have identical singular and plural forms

    I thought perhaps it was the Spanish singular form.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: Need help with nouns that have identical singular and plural forms

    Thanks very much for this info.

    1930 was quite a while back, I hardly come across such usage and so, I find it a little strange.

    Does anyone know if this "rule" (or is it a guideline?) applies to game animals alone, animals in general or/and other non-animal nouns?

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