TOEFL iTP | Errors with Singular and Plural Nouns | Structure & Written Expression

Underlined nouns in the Written Expression section may be incorrect because they are plural but should be singular, or because they are singular but should be plural.

Sometimes it is clear that a singular subject is incorrectly used because the verb is plural, or that a plural noun is used incorrectly because the verb is singular. In this type of item, the verb will not be underlined, because this is not a verb error.

Sometimes it is obvious that a plural or singular noun is needed because of the determiners that precede the noun. Certain determiners are used only before singular nouns while other determiners are used only before plural nouns.

Determiners Used with Singular Nouns

  • a/an
  • one
  • a single
  • each
  • every
  • this
  • that

Determiners Used with Plural Nouns

  • two, three, four, etc
  • dozens of
  • hundreds of
  • thousands of
  • a few (of)
  • many (of)
  • a number of
  • the number of
  • a couple (of)
  • every one of
  • each one of
  • each of
  • one of
  • these
  • those
  1. Each contestant won a prize.
  2. Each of the contestants won a prize.
  3. This flower is a yellow rose.
  4. These flowers are yellow roses.
  5. I attended only one game this season.
  6. It was one of the most exciting games that I ever attended.

Sample Items

  • Several of Washington Irving’s story have become classics in American literature.

In this item, both the determiner before the nouns (several of) and the plural verb (have) indicate that a plural noun (stories) should be used.

  • Mauna Loa, an active volcano on the island of Hawaii, usually has one eruptions every three years.

A singular noun must be used after the determiner one.

  • One of the most beautiful state capitol is the Utah State Capital located in Salt Lake City.

The correct pattern is one of the + superlative adjective + plural noun. The plural noun capitols must therefore be used.

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