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We do not know how to count correctly: what mistakes in English do Russian speakers most often

It is clear that if you think logically, it will become clear when to use the singular and when the plural. But there are some nuances and exceptions to the rules that are hard to come by in English, especially for Russian speakers. It was about such nuances that the publication told Online Teachers UK.

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Very often, speaking in English, a Russian-speaking person inserts s where necessary and not necessary. Usually this does not carry anything serious, but still it is better to learn how to use the plural correctly so as not to cause confusion.

Both languages ​​have countable and uncountable nouns. In the first case, the English plural form is formed by adding s, but not in the second. Here are some examples of English nouns of both types.

  • Countable: book, house, apple;
  • Uncountable: milk, rice, money.

For Russian-speakers, this classification is quite understandable, but there are some “buts”.


A very interesting approach to nouns that name objects that consist of two parts. Logically, such nouns should be considered in the plural, and they are. For example, scissors / scissors, trousers / trousers, pliers / pliers, glasses / glasses and others in the English version end in s, and in Russian - in “i / s”. However, there is also a difference in perception here.

On the subject: 21 ways to improve your English without leaving home

A striking example of such a difference is the word gate, which in Russian means the number of valves. So in the singular a gate (garden gate) is perceived, and in the plural - a gate with two wings, therefore, in Russian and in English, large gates are trying to be made in the plural.

Another word with which there are difficulties: hair. And then there is the question of habit. In both languages, it is countable, but in English, in most cases, they try to use hair as a plural form: She had long, brown hair. But Russian-speakers like to say hairs, because they are used to saying “hair”, without the plural ending, it seems to them that a person has only one hair on his head.


For example, in Russian the word "money" is always in the plural, so in English, Russian speakers make a mistake that they pretend to be, for example: "I put my money in the bank and THEY have been there for 6 months." In English, the word money is always in the singular - it.

Sometimes in financial texts you can find monies in the meaning of "money", but this is an exception, and in most cases money is used in the singular.

Most often, Russian speakers make mistakes in such uncountable English words as research, advice, knowledge, data, and the like. This is due to the fact that in Russian these words are countable. In English, it is wrong to say advices, researches, but in Russian it sounds quite normal - “advice”, “research”.

If you want to indicate that there are several pieces of advice in English, then say several pieces of advice, or just replace it with a synonym, for example tips.

We talk like Americans

Another very common and non-obvious mistake is to add s in such common expressions as No comment, No problem and Thank God, and in the latter case, s is added to the verb. These expressions should be used without s.

But for some strange reason, the informal expression No probs is used in the plural. Saying No prob is wrong.

One of the most painful topics is exceptions to the rules for the formation of the plural. Everyone often makes the mistake of adding s to words like men, women, children, sheep, mouse, etc. For example, Americans rarely use the form fruits, preferring just fruit, for example: I went to the market to buy some fruit (not fruits).

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In addition, Russian speakers too often use the word persons as a plural form. This word is very scientific and official and in the usual context sounds strange. The normal plural form of person is people. You can also say peoples in relation to ethnic groups (peoples).

British English confuses people

Some Russian speakers are confused by the fact that in British English some collective nouns can be perceived both in the singular and in the plural, for example: family, government, team, police, etc. In Russian, the noun is either in the singular or in the plural Both options are not allowed at the same time. But in British English they think differently.

  • Our football team is top of the Premier League at the moment. (Whole group)
    The team were disappointed after their 5-0 defeat at home. (Individual players)
  • My family is big. (Many relatives form one large group)
    My family are big. (Separate relatives, they are all fat).

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