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Plural – All in General

Refer to a noun collectively or in mass 

ancestor
 

 

Plural Form–all vs. The–classification

PLURAL FORM—ALL

In this example, plural form expresses all in general. This is a usage commonly found in everyday speech, books, articles, and magazines. If the plural and singular noun form is the same (e.g., fish, deer, and elk) or the noun is noncount (e.g., water, air, love) then use the singular form.

Timber wolves fightingWolves hunt in packs.

Trappers hunt wolves for their fur.

Husky packDogs are descended from wolves.

Wolves are the ancestors of dogs.

deer grazingDeer feed primarily on leaves.

The singular and plural noun form is the same.

 

water in reservoirWater fills our reservoirs in the spring.

(noncount noun–singular and plural noun form is the same)

THE—CLASSIFICATION

The before the singular noun form  ("the wolf") expresses all in the class (type, or kind). This is a usage particular to text found in science books, encyclopedias and scholarly publications for discussing the quality, character of behavior of an entire classification.                                    

The WolfThe wolf (Canis Lupus) hunts in a pack.

Trappers hunt the wolf for its fur.

Siberian HuskyThe dog is descended from the wolf.

The wolf is the ancestor of the dog.

(descended – be related to a group that lived a long time ago )

Deer in river eating greeneryThe deer is a ruminant mammal.

(ruminant – has a special stomach for eating a plant-based diet)

 

Deer in river eating greeneryRain water is part of a cycle—connecting the ocean, land, and atmosphere.

(Noncount nouns can be classified but they do not accept the.)

 

 

unspecific and indefinite Wolves hunt in packs. (True for all wolves.) /  A wolf hunts in a pack. (True for any wolf.) / The wolf hunts in a pack. (True of the class of animal.) [science]

specific but indefinite A wolf killed a deer  (a wolf but we're not sure which one.)

specific and definiteThe wolf that killed the deer also killed our chickens. (We know which one did it.)

Also see Unusual Singular/Plural Nouns (people, police, pants, measles, means) and All–count / noncount.

 

 

 

 

Plural Form vs. The + Plural Noun

Express all or a particular Group

 

PLURAL FORM—ALL

Using no article before a plural form noun refers to all (even if some do not fit the generalization.) This form is used when speaking in general about the qualities and characteristics of the noun.

Dogs pulling a sledDogs with heavy coats and strong legs can pull sleds over snow and ice.

Malamutes and Huskies are good sled dogs.

Dogs and Huskies are regular plural forms

 

dog teethDog teeth are sharp.

Teeth is an irregular plural form.

 

Siberian HuskyLoyalty is a quality valued in Huskies.

Loyalty is a noncount noun. There is no difference between the singular and plural form.)

 

THE—CLASSIFICATION

Using the before a plural noun (a group) or noncount noun (collective, mass, concept) refers to something known—by previous mention, shared knowledge, an expected part, uniqueness, etc.

Husky packLook at those two dogs.

The dogs are named Darryl and Hannah.

The Malamutes are siblings.

Dogs and Malamutes are regular plural forms.

dog tooth cleaningThe teeth of Darryl and Hannah are cleaned yearly.

Teeth is an irregular plural form.

Winter Dance Canada Dog Sledding HuskiesThe loyalty that they show me is priceless.

Loyalty is a noncount noun. There is no difference between the singular and plural form.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Focusing on All

Gray Wolf
 

Change the focus from the class to all.

EXAMPLE:    Why does the wolf howl? (the class)  ⇒   Why do wolves howl? (all)

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1.
 

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Focusing on the Class

dog
 

 

Change the focus from all  to the class.

EXAMPLE:   Why do wolves howl? (all) ⇒  Why does the wolf howl? (the class)

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

6.
 

7.

8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

The History of Furniture

Acient Greek Furniture

 

 

 

Speaking specifically or in general

THE — SPECIFIC & IDENTIFIED

We can discuss a topic using the before a noun, referring to a specific, identified item.

Ancient greek chairThe chair on the right is Assyrian.

PLURAL —ALL IN GENERAL

Or we can discuss a topic using the plural noun form, referring to all such items in general (true for all).

Salami in generalChairs of this style were Assyrian. They were considered to be luxury items.

 

 

Also see Plural / The-definite.

 

 

Original (with errors)

The history of the furniture reflects the history of the culture. Relatively little is known about the furniture of the ancient societies, simply because the furniture was usually made of the perishable materials -- wood and sometimes fabric -- that have not survived. Our limited knowledge of the Egyptian, the Greek, and the Roman furniture is based mostly on the paintings and the sculptures. 

The only actual surviving pieces of the furniture of these cultures are from the burials. For example, King Tut's tomb in Egypt contained the display of elegantly decorated royal furniture. About the only surviving example of everyday Roman furniture are from the two cities near Naples that were buried under the tons of volcanic ash from the eruption of the Mt. Vesuvius on August 24, 79 A.D. 

GLOSSARY

ancient (Adj) — very old

bury (buried) — placed underground

decorate (V) — make something look more attractive, beautiful

elegantly (adv.) —  in a beautiful, attractive, graceful manner

fabric (N) — cloth

is based on — comes from, has as its foundation

perishable (Adj) — can decay, age, spoil easily

reflect (V) — show, be a sign of a particular situation or feeling

society (N) — a particular large group of people who share laws, organizations, customs

survive (V) — to continue to exist after a long time

tomb (N) — a stone structure above or below the ground where a dead person is buried

 

 

 

Reword the paragraph so that it refers to items in general. (Omit the where it is possible.)

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your responses to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or "Check 1-6" button. Brackets [ ] mark where the has been removed.

 

11.
The history of the furniture reflects the history of the culture.


12.
Relatively little is known about the furniture of the ancient societies, simply because the furniture was usually made of the perishable materials -- wood and sometimes fabric -- that have not survived.


13.
Our limited knowledge of the Egyptian, the Greek, and the Roman furniture is based mostly on the paintings and the sculptures.


14.
The only actual surviving pieces of the furniture of these cultures are from the burials.


15.
For example, the King Tut tomb in Egypt contained the display of elegantly decorated royal furniture.


16.
About the only surviving example of everyday Roman furniture are from the two cities near Naples that were buried under the tons of volcanic ash from the eruption of the Mt. Vesuvius on August 24, 79 A.D.


 

 

 

 

 

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