As you’re wishing the new graduate luck on her journey, giving a pat on the back to a new employee, or sending the newlyweds off to start their new life together, just remember that the noun congratulations is plural.
When you are talking about two things that go together (2 matching socks, shoes, or gloves), you call the set a pair (no -s). If you go to Target to get new socks, for example, but they come with three matching sets…six individual socks…you have three pairs – with an -s.
In other words:
2 matching socks = one pair (one pair is singular, so there is no -s)
4 socks, two of which match = two pairs (pair is plural, so add an -s)
Read more about pairs and subject/verb agreement by clicking here.
The holidays are here! Even though Christmas gets most of the attention, it’s important to acknowledge the other holidays around this time of year: Hanuka, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and Halloween…
(maybe Halloween is stretching out the season too far, but when I went witch-hat shopping for my costume, all I found were Christmas trees)
The idea to remember here is that there is a lot happening this time of year, so sometimes all the activity gets lumped together into one big season: The Holiday Season, or simply, The Holidays!
A student recently asked, “Why is it called movies if you just saw one movie [or film]?”
My answer was that when you go to the movie theater, there are usually many movies to choose from. You are at the location where they usually show more than one movie. In the United States, instead of saying, “We went to the movie theater,” we shorten it to movies.
This student seemed satisfied with my response, but I was surprised that she didn’t continue to ask why we don’t say, “We went to the movie.” If you use the article “the” with movie, both you and the listener need a common point of reference (i.e. you both need to know which movie you’re referring to). At this point in the conversation, it might be better just to name the movie.
Here is a possible conversation:
You: Hi. What did you do this weekend?
Your coworker: We went to the movies.
You: Oh, what did you see?
Your coworker: We saw Inception. What about you? Did you have a good weekend?
You: Yes. I went to the movies, too, but I didn’t see the movie we talked about last week.
Sources on the internet state, and I agree, that the standard is to call it Daylight Saving Time (no -s on saving)
I recommend just remembering this, but some people like rules, so here’s my attempt:
Consistent with the rule that nouns that function as adjectives are never plural (except the word sport, as in sports bar, or sports team), if you put the gerund (noun) saving in front of the word time, there is no need for an -s ending on saving.
Upstairs and downstairs have an -s ending, but they actually refer to one location: another floor of the building. If stairs, upstairs, or downstairs is the subject, the verb should agree with a singular noun.
The upstairs has a home theater. (upstairs in this example is the subject – have agrees with upstairs)
Upstairs, there is a home theater. (upstairs in this example refers to the location only – it’s not the subject here)
If the word stair appears first in a compound word, it will not take an -s.
If there is just one stair, call it a step (not a stair). If there is one or a few steps, use the:
up the step(s), down the step(s), up the stairs, down the stairs
These expressions imply movement rather than location.
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