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Singularia tantum and Pluralia tantum




The two subclasses of uncountable nouns are usually referred to, respectively, as singularia tantum (only singular) and pluralia tantum (only plural). In terms of oppositions we may say that in the formation of the two subclasses of uncountable nouns the number opposition is "constantly" (lexically) reduced either to the weak member (singularia tantum) or to the strong member (pluralia tantum).

Since the grammatical form of the uncountable nouns of the singularia tantum subclass is not excluded from the category of number, it stands to reason to speak of it as the "absolute" singular, as different from the "correlative" or "common" singular of the countable nouns. The absolute singular excludes the use of the modifying numeral one, as well as the indefinite article.

The absolute singular is characteristic of the names of abstract notions {peace, love, joy, courage, friendship, etc.), the names of the branches of professional activity {chemistry, architecture, mathematics, linguistics, etc.), the names of mass-materials {water, snow, steel, hair, etc.), the names of collective inanimate objects {foliage, fruit, furniture, machinery, etc.).

Among the PT are the nouns: trousers, scissors, etc. The direct opposition of PT is ST. Among this, we must note some nouns denoting material substance, milk, butter and names of abstract notions-peace, usefulness with these nouns the predicate verb is always singular.

There exist exceptions, these nouns may have a plural form, for ex. wine-wines (to denote several special kinds of wine), beauty-beauties (of nature) when we mean the objects exhibiting this quality ex; iron-irons.

 

 







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