複數
Plural Forms

 


直接跳到所有格


大多數名詞只要在字尾加上字母 s 就可產生複數型。
 
  • more than one snake = snakes
  • more than one ski = skis
  • more than one Barrymore = Barrymores

但字尾為 -ch, x, s 或發 s 音的字,則須以 -es 來產生複數:

  • more than one witch = witches
  • more than one box = boxes
  • more than one gas = gases
  • more than one bus = buses
  • more than one kiss = kisses
  • more than one Jones = Joneses

此外,有些名詞的複數是不規則的。我們有時稱這類複數為變形複數 (mutated or mutating plurals)

  • more than one child = children
  • more than one woman = women
  • more than one man = men
  • more than one person = people
  • more than one goose = geese
  • more than one mouse = mice
  • more than one barracks = barracks
  • more than one deer = deer

  

最後是,有些名詞的複數仍保持其拉丁語型態 (參見下面對 media、 data和  alumni 的說明)。

  • more than one nucleus = nuclei
  • more than one syllabus = syllabi
  • more than one focus = foci
  • more than one fungus = fungi
  • more than one cactus = cacti (cactuses 亦可)
  • more than one thesis = theses
  • more than one crisis = crises*
  • more than one phenomenon = phenemona
  • more than one index = indices (indexes 亦可)
  • more than one appendix = appendices (appendixes 亦可)
  • more than one criterion = criteria

*注意 crises 這個字的發音:第二音節發 ease [iz]的音。base 的複數是 bases,而 basis 的複數也是 bases,但前者複數的發音為 [besIz],而後者為 [besiz]。

若干名詞在型態上似乎是複數,但都是接單數動詞:

  • The news is bad.
  • Gymnastics is fun to watch.
  • Economics/mathematics/statistics is said to be difficult.

數詞通常是單數,但如果某一數目群體內的個體係單獨行動,那麼它可以是複數:

  • Fifty-thousand dollars is a lot of money.
  • One-half of the faculty is retiring this summer.
  • One-half of the faculty have doctorates.

另有若干名詞本質上似乎是單數,但以複數型態出現且都是接複數動詞:

  • My pants are torn. (現今我們有時會見到這個字以單數型態 "pant" 出現,尤其是在服裝廣告中。)
  • Her scissors were stolen.
  • The glasses have slipped down his nose again.

當一個名詞係某物的名稱、書名或標題,或者被當做「一個字」時,不管這個名詞是單數型或複數型,它都是單數。

  • Faces is the name of the new restaurant downtown.
  • The term Okies describes the residents of Oklahoma during the 1930s.
  • Chelmsley Brothers is the best moving company in town.
  • Postcards is my favorite novel.

複合字在複數化時會產生特別的問題。複合字中被複數化的名詞通常在其字尾加 -s,但事情並非都是這麼簡單。Daughters-in-law 遵循這通則,但 cupfuls 則否。請參見複合名詞與修飾語來獲得額外的協助。

問題兒童 (Problem Children)

許多謹慎的寫作者堅持 data (資料) 和 media (媒體) 這兩個字係拉丁語複數,所以必須用做複數字。然而,這兩個字的拉丁語單數型態很少使用:datummedium。現今許多權威人士贊成這樣的句子:My data is lost. 及 The media is out to get the President.

alumni (男校友) 和 alumnae (女校友) 仍然問題重重。男校友的單數為 alumnus,複數為 alumni;女校友的單數為 alumna,複數為 alumnae。在傳統的拉丁語中,男性複數型 alumni 可以包括兩性。但為了避免爭議,或避免引發不必要的困擾,我們建議使用 graduates (畢業生) 和縮寫的 alum (女校友或男校友)。

複數名詞的特例

以一個子音加 y 做字尾的名詞,必須將 y 改為 i 後再加 es

  • more than one baby = babies
  • more than one gallery = galleries
    (注意這個字跟 galleys 的不同,後者的最後一個字母 y 的前面不是子音,而是母音。)
  • more than one reality = realities
    這規則不適用於專有名詞:
  • more than one Kennedy = Kennedys

o 做字尾的名詞又有其特殊的複數型態。

  • more than one potato = potatoes
  • more than one hero = heroes
    ... 然而 ... 
  • more than one memo = memos
  • more than one cello = cellos
    ... 如果 o 的前面是母音 ...
  • more than one stereo = stereos

ffe 做字尾的名詞的複數通常將 -f-fe 改為 v 後再加 -es

  • more than one knife = knives
  • more than one leaf = leaves
  • more than one hoof = hooves
  • more than one life = lives
  • more than one self = selves
    然而,這也有例外:
  • more than one dwarf = dwarfs
  • more than one roof = roofs

另外還有所謂的集合名詞 (collective nouns),當它們被視為群體時,它們是單數,若我們考慮的是群體內的個體,那麼它們是複數 (這種情況有時發生,但並不常見)。

audience
band
class
committee
crowd
dozen
family
flock
group
heap
herd
jury
kind
lot
[the] number
public
staff
team

因此,如果我們在談論雞蛋,我們可以說 "A dozen is probably not enough." 但如果我們在談論跟朋友參加晚會,我們可以說 "A dozen are coming over this afternoon." The jury delivers its verdict. [但] The jury came in and took their seats. 我們可以說 the Tokyo String Quartet is one of the best string ensembles in the world, 但 the Beatles were some of the most famous singers in history.

注意:"the number" 是單數集合名詞。"The number of applicants is steadily increasing." 相對地,"a number" 是複數型:"There are several students in the lobby. A number are here to see the president."

集合名詞都是可數名詞 (count nouns),意謂它們可以複數型來表示:a university has several athletic teams and classes. 又如 the immigrant families kept watch over their herds and flocks.

One of the 這個片語後面的名詞 (做為介系詞 of 的受詞) 永遠是複數。

  • One of the reasons we do this is that it rains a lot in spring.
  • One of the students in this room is responsible.

不過,請注意:動詞 ("is") 與 one 一致,而非與介系詞的受詞一致;前者為單數,而後者一定是複數。

有兩種特殊的情況我們使用所有格符號加 -s 來產生複數型態:字母的複數及被當做字的名詞的複數。這種「被當做字的名詞」也要變成斜體字,但其字尾的 's 則不用斜體。千萬別使用所有格符號加 -s 來產生頭字語 (可發音的縮寫字,如 LASER,IRA 和 URL*) 及其他縮寫的複數。

  • Jeffrey got four A's on his last report card.
  • You've got fifteen and's in that last paragraph.
    注意:我們不可使用所有格符號加 -s 來產生本身就是字的名詞 (注意這與被當做字的名詞之間的區別) 的複數。例如,我們說 "ins and outs" of a mystery (一項秘密的內情), the "yeses and nos" of a vote (贊成票與反對票);此外,我們說 "The shortstop made two spectacular outs in that inning." 但當我們指的是被當做字的名詞時,我們首先將它變成斜體字 -- I pointed out the use of the word out in that sentence. -- 若有必要,則使用非斜體字的所有格符號加 -s 來使其變成複數 -- "In his essay on prepositions, Jose used an astonishing three dozen out's. 這一慣例並非受到各行各業一致的遵循;在閱讀報紙時,你會發現我們的例句被寫成非斜體字且去掉所有格符號:"You've got fifteen ands in that last paragraph." 

    注意:下面的情況不可使用所有格符號來產生複數:
  • The 1890s in Europe are widely regarded as years of social decadence.
  • Rosa and her brother have identical IQs, and they both have PhDs from Harvard.
  • She has over 400 URLs* in her bookmark file.

每當你對某個名詞或某個字的複數型態有所懷疑時,查字典準沒錯。例如,有些字典列出 wharfswharves 都是 wharf 的複數。這是很好的辯論題材。

* 雖然 URL (Uniform [or Universal] Resource Locator 全球資訊網網址「一致或通用資源位址」的頭字語)是要被當做一個可以發音 (發 Earl 的音) 的字,還是要將三個字母分開來拼字 (U*R*L),目前仍無一致的定論。但無論何種情況,它的複數都是拼成 URLs。

Guide to Grammar and Writing