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Talilia

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I' m a teacher from Ukraine. I'd like to ask you about plural forms of nationalities. Many grammar books propose different variants without any explanations. I'm confused. Tell me please how will it be correct: Ukrainian or Ukrainians, American or Americans? Whats is the difference?
 

Steven D

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Sep 6, 2004
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English Teacher
Talilia said:
I' m a teacher from Ukraine. I'd like to ask you about plural forms of nationalities. Many grammar books propose different variants without any explanations. I'm confused. Tell me please how will it be correct: Ukrainian or Ukrainians, American or Americans? Whats is the difference?
Most typically we use "s" to show the plural form of nationalities. However, by placing "the", which is the definite article in English, before the singular form, we can use the singular form of a nationality to represent all members of that nationality in general. In this way a singular form of a nationality can mean "everyone" or "all".

For example:

1. In my recent experience, I have noticed that it might be difficult for the Ukrainian to adjust to life in America sometimes.


2. In my recent experience, I have noticed that it might be difficult for Ukrainians to adjust to life in America sometimes.

Sentence number 2 is more usual and typical. However, sentence number 1 is possible. I think it would be more likely that someone would use sentence number 1 in writing or as part of a narrative for a documentary.

1. I think the American is mostly unaware of the lives of immigrants in the U.S.

2. I think Americans are mostly unaware of the lives of immigrants in the U.S.


Number 1 is possible, but number 2 is more usual and far more likely.
 
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