‘Whereabouts’: is it singular or plural?

Where to give persuasive advice on whether accommodation whether plural or singular has historically been elusive. We are here to fix that. Nowadays it’s more often than not plural:

A wanted warrant has been issued, but his whereabouts are unknown. — Judge Barrie (Ontario)March 13, 2017


The last ‘s’ in ‘whereabouts’ looks like a plural ending, but it’s not one. That said, ‘place of residence’ is usually plural.

Usage in that quote is typical, but not always. accommodation throughout the 19th century was considered singular or plural, with the difference—at least in literary texts—in favor of the singular:

The whereabouts of the Oldest Dwellers were immediately identified when I looked at them. – Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bright red letter1850

… he thinks her whereabouts are uncertain and her fate may be uncertain…. — Henry James, Tragic muse1890

… being a farmer and a generous farmer like himself, her probable abode is outdoors at this time of year. —Thomas Hardy, Away from the maddening crowd1874

She had been married for three years… then suddenly her whereabouts were discovered by her first husband…. – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes’ Memoirs1894

accommodation was used in both the singular and the plural in the early 20th century, and then settled into the second half of the 20th century in its present status as a noun requiring a plural verb.

But wait, you can tell. This is stupid: accommodation ends in -S. It is clearly plural. Why did people ever consider it singular? We say, ah, but we’re talking about English This. Have history To be accounted for.

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Final match -S IN accommodation (And near) may look like a plural ending but it is not one. Nouns derived from adverbs accommodationand -S is actually an adverb suffix. That’s right: there’s a suffix that looks like what makes a plural word but actually marks it as an adverb. (You can’t make this up.) We see it in always And besides also. Go picture.

Always And besides never complicate things by becoming nouns, of course. But accommodation Have. While some are historically convinced by the adverb origin of the word -S that the true state of the noun is singular, these people are now certainly in the minority. You should not be afraid to use accommodation with a plural verb, no matter where you are.

Categories: Usage Notes
Source: vothisaucamau.edu.vn

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