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Section 7: Plurals - Alaska Department of Fish and Game - singular and plural dictionary

Section 7: Plurals - Alaska Department of Fish and Game-singular and plural dictionary

Section 7: Plurals
For the names of certain types of animals, the singular is used to denote both one
and more than one individual.
Use: deer, fish, moose, sheep
Some of these nouns have the same form for singular and plural. The regularly formed
plural is used to indicate more than one species, strain, or variety.
Use: three fishes of interest
For the names of some large mammals and some other organisms, either the singular
or the regularly formed plural may be used to indicate the plural; however, see 7.1 Ani-
mals, Fishes, and Related Terms for plurals commonly used in ADF&G writing.
Generally speaking, a number, a fraction, or a quantity of things is singular if con-
sidered as a mass and plural if considered as separate units. In general, use a plural
verb when human beings are implied.
Use: Six quarts is enough [singular if considered as a mass].
Five liters were slowly measured out [plural if considered as separate units].
Half the bottle is shared.
Half of these women are married.
Almost 20 percent of the overhead goes to the mortgage.
Over 20 percent of the profits are reinvested.
7 7.1 Animals, Fishes, and Related Terms
When referring to collective groups of species (a mix of species), the plural forms
may differ from normal use (e.g., one fish, two fish; but two fishes--one of the trout
variety and one of the escocid variety.)
Singular Plural Mix of Species
abalone abalones NA
alevin alevins alevins
alga algae1 algae 1
bear bears Ursids
beaver beavers beavers
bison bison1 bison
buck bucks1 bucks1
burbot burbots burbots
caribou caribou1 NA
char char1 chars1
cisco ciscoes ciscoes
clam clams clams
cod cod1 cods1
coyote coyotes NA
Singular Plural Mix of Species
crab crab crabs
deer deer 1 deer1
doe does1 does1
duck ducks ducks
elk elk 1 NA
fauna faunas faunas
fingerling fingerlings fingerlings
fish fish fishes1, 2
flora floras floras
flounder flounders1 flounders1
fox foxes foxes
fry fry fry
fungus fungi/funguses fungi/funguses
furbearer furbearers furbearers
geoduck geoducks geoducks
gillnet gillnets gillnets
goat goats goats
grayling grayling graylings
goose geese geese
grouse grouse1 grouses1
halibut halibut1 halibuts1
hare hares hares
herring herring1 herrings1
larva larvae1 larvae1
lynx lynx1 lynxes1
marten martens martens
megalopa3 megalopae megalopas
megalops3 megalops megalops
mink mink1 minks
mollusk mollusks mollusks
moose moose NA 7
muskox muskoxen NA
muskrat muskrats NA
octopus octopuses/octopi octopuses/octopi
otter otters otters
parr parr 1 parr1
pike pike1 esocids5
plankter 4 plankton /plankters3 plankton4
raptor raptors raptors
rockfish rockfish1 rockfishes1
salmon salmon1 salmon1
seal seals seals
sea lion sea lions sea lions
sheep sheep sheep
shrimp shrimp1 shrimps1
smolt smolt smolts1
species species species
squid squid1 squids1
trout trout1 trouts1
walrus walruses NA
waterfowl waterfowl waterfowl
weasel weasels weasels
whale whales whales
Singular Plural Mix of Species
wolf wolves NA
wolverine wolverines NA
zoea 1 zoeas1 zoeas1
1 The dictionary recognizes two acceptable plurals, but the committee decided that only this plural should
be used in ADF&G writing.
2 For a mix of species, the plural fish may be used when referring to fish as subsistence harvests for food. For
all other uses, ADF&G recommends following the American Fisheries Society's recommendations to use
fishes for a mix of species.
3 Use either megalopa or megalops and their plurals, but do not mix the two forms (megalops/megalopa)
within a document.
4 Use plankter for a single planktonic organism. Use plankters when referring to a specific num?ber of such
organisms; however, plankton may also be used. For example, a count of 1.3 x 103 zooplankters but the
zooplankton count was 1.3 x 103 (not 1.3 x 103 zooplankton). Also, use plankton when referring to the
population or general group of such organisms.
5 Although technically pickerels and muskellunge are pikes, when referring to a mix of pike species pikes may
be misunderstood to be several or more pike E. lucius. Therefore, when referring to a mix of pike species,
use esocids.
7.2 General Terms
The following singulars and plurals should be used as indicated. Words in brackets
are allowed in general writing but not in technical writing. When there are two
plurals and both are acceptable, they are separated by a slash (/).
7 Singular Plural
addendum addenda
agenda agendas
criterion criteria [criterions1]
data point [not data2] data
fishery3 fisheries3
formula formulas
forum fora
genus genera
hypothesis hypotheses
index indices [indexes1]
memorandum memoranda/memorandums
ovum ova
phenomenon phenomena
species species
stratum strata [stratums4]
symposium symposia/symposiums
taxon taxa
virion virions5
virus5 viruses5

Is the word 'everything' singular or plural? Many students think that the indefinite pronouns “everybody”, “everything”, and “everyone” are plural. This is not true. These pronouns are singular. Think of them as “every single thing.” However, because these pronouns are singular, a conflict arises when a personal pronoun refers to them. For example, consider the following sentence: