ENGLISHMiscellaneous English Grammar

CONFUSING WORDS & THEIR SINGULAR/PLURAL

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1. Nouns having two plural forms with different meanings

appendix – appendixes or appendices (for ‘medical terms’)
appendix – appendices (for addition/s to a book)

brother – brothers (for ‘sons of the same parent’)
brother – brethren (for ‘members of a society or a community’)

cloth – cloths (for ‘kinds or pieces of cloth’)
cloth – clothes (for ‘garments’)

die – dies (for ‘stamps for printing or coining’)
die – dice (for ‘small cubes used in games’)

index – indexes (for ‘tables of contents to books’)
index – indices (for ‘signs used in algebra’)

penny – pennies (for ‘number of coins’)
penny – pence (for ‘amount in value’)

2. Nouns having two meanings in the singular but one in the plural

light = radiance; light = a lamp
lights = lamps

people = nation; people = men and women
peoples = nations

powder = dust; powder = a dose of medicine in fine grains like dust
powders = doses of medicine

practice = habit; practice = exercise of a profession
practices = habits

3. Nouns having one meaning in the singular but two in the plural

colour = hue
colours = hues; colours = the flag of a regiment

custom = habit
customs = habits; customs = duties levied on imports

effect = result
effects = results; effects = property

ground = earth; ground = reason
grounds = enclosed land attached to house; grounds = reasons; grounds = dregs

letter = letter of the alphabet
letters = letters of the alphabet;  letters = literature

manner = method
manners = methods; manners = correct behaviour

moral = a moral lesson
morals = moral lessons; morals = conduct

number = a quantity
numbers = quantities; numbers = verses

pain = suffering
pains = sufferings; pains = care, exertion

premise = proposition
premises = propositions; premises = buildings

quarter = fourth part
quarters = fourth parts; quarters = lodgings

spectacle = a sight
spectacles = sights; spectacles = eye-glasses

4. Nouns having different meanings in the singular and the plural

advice =counsel
advices = information

air = atmosphere
airs = affected manners

amend = to change the words of a text, especially a law or a legal document; e.g. MPs were urged to amend the law to prevent another oil tanker disaster.
amends = to do something good to show that you are sorry about something you have done; e.g. I wanted to make amends for the worry I’ve caused you.

appearance = the way that someone or something looks
appearances = what things look like or seem to be rather than what they actually are; e.g. He was a far more complicated man than outward appearances suggested.

chain = i) a series of linked metal rings used for fastening or securing something, or for pulling loads; e.g. He slid the bolts on the front door and put the safety chain across.
ii) a sequence of items of the same type forming a line; e.g. He kept the chain of buckets supplied with water.
chains = a fact or situation that limits a person’s freedom

compass = extent, range
compasses = an instrument for drawing circles

damage = harm or injury; e.g. Strong winds had caused serious damage to the roof.  damages = money that is paid to someone by a person or organization who has been responsible for causing them some injury or loss; e.g. The police have been ordered to pay substantial damages to the families of the two dead boys.

force = strength
forces = troops

good = benefit, well-being
goods = merchandise/property

greeting = something friendly or polite that you say or do when you meet or welcome someone; e.g. They briskly exchanged greetings before starting the session.
greetings = a message that says you hope someone is well, happy, etc.; e.g.  birthday/Christmas greetings

humanity = i) people in general; e.g. Bombing civilians is a crime against humanity.
ii) understanding and kindness towards other people; e.g. If only he would show/display a little humanity for once. iii) the condition of being human; e.g. There is a sense of common humanity that unites people of all nations.
humanities = literature, language, history, philosophy, and other subjects that are not a science, or the study of these subjects

iron = a kind of metal
irons = fetters (बेड़ी(

pain = i) a feeling of physical suffering caused by injury or illness; e.g. These tablets should help to ease the pain. ii) emotional or mental suffering; e.g. The parents are still in great pain over the death of their child.
pains = to make a lot of effort to do something; e.g. I went to great pains to select the best staff available.

particular = special, or this and not any other; e.g. She wanted a particular type of bag.
particulars = details or information about a person or an event, especially when officially recorded; e.g. There’s a form for you to note down all your particulars.

proceeding = a particular action or course or manner of action
proceedings = i) a series of events that happen in a planned and controlled way; e.g. Millions of people watched the proceedings on television. ii) a complete written record of what is said or done during a meeting

physic = medicine
Physics = natural science

regard = i) to consider or have an opinion about something or someone; e.g. He is generally/widely regarded as the father of international law. ii) to look carefully at something or someone; e.g. The bird regarded me with suspicion as I walked up to its nest.
regards = i) Careful thought or attention; heed; e.g. She gives little regard to her sister’s teasing. ii) Respect, affection, or esteem; e.g. He has little regard for your work. iii) Good wishes expressing such sentiment; e.g. Give the family my best regards.

respect = regard
respects = compliments

return = i) to come or go back to a previous place; e.g. She left South Africa at the age of 15 and has never returned. ii) If people or things return to a previous condition, they go back to that condition; e.g. Within a week, the situation had returned to normal. iii) If you return to an activity or subject, you start doing it or talking about it again; e.g. Every five minutes, he returned to the same subject.
returns = goods that have been taken back to the shop where they were bought by customers because they are damaged or unsuitable

sand = a substance that consists of very small grains of rock, found on beaches and in deserts; e.g. Mix one part sand to three parts cement.
sands = large flat areas of sand near the sea; e.g. miles of golden sands

water = a colourless, transparent, odourless, liquid which forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain and is the basis of the fluids of living organisms. (पानी(
waters = i) the area of sea near to and belonging to a particular country; e.g. St Lucia depends on its clean coastal waters for its income. ii) the water contained in a particular lake, river, or part of the sea; e.g. In the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico, oil rigs attract fish.

way = a route, direction, or path; e.g. Do you know the way to the restaurant?
ways = structure consisting of a sloping way down to the water from the place where ships are built or repaired

wit = the ability to use words in a clever and humorous way
wits = intelligence and the ability to think quickly; e.g. She learned to survive on her wits.

wood = a hard substance that forms the branches and trunks of trees and can be used as a building material, for making things, or as a fuel; e.g. He gathered some wood to build a fire.
woods = an area of land, smaller than a forest, that is covered with growing trees

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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)

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