Sunday, September 13, 2009

My mathematics are very poor

In yesterday's post I talked about words that are spelt the same in the singular or plural. In today's post, I would like to deal with words ending in 's' but can be treated as singular or plural.

I shall present two words for illustration here. The first word is 'mathematics'. When it is treated as a subject, it is considered singular. For example, you can write:
Mathematics is my favourite subject.

If you are talking about the mathematical aspect of things, then 'mathematics' is to be treated as plural. The following is a sentence constructed using this word.

As my mathematics are poor, I usually make mistakes in calculations.

The second word is 'statistics'. Treated as a subject, 'statistics' is singular in nature. For instance, you can write a sentence such as the one below:
Statistics is one of the subjects he took up while he was studying in a university.

When it is used to mean facts collected systematically, then the word is considered plural. Hence you can say 'Statistics show that road accidents happen more often during peak hours.'

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