edited by Meagan Ayer et al.

Nouns Lacking the Plural

Book Nav
main

99. Some nouns are ordinarily found in the singular only (singulāria tantum). These are—

  1. Most proper names.

    Caesar Cæsar
    Gallia Gaul

  2. Names of things not counted, but reckoned in mass.

    aurum gold
    āēr air
    trīticum wheat

  3. Abstract nouns.

    ambitiō ambition
    fortitūdō courage
    calor heat

100. Many of these nouns, however, are used in the plural in some other sense.

a. The plural of a proper name may be applied to two or more persons, places, or things, and so become strictly common.

duodecim Caesarēs the twelve Cæsars
Galliae the two Gauls (Cis- and Transalpine)
Castores Castor and Pollux
Iovēs images of Jupiter

b. The plural forms of names of things reckoned in mass may denote particular objects.

aera bronze utensils
nivēs 
snowflakes

Alternatively, the plural may denote different kinds of a thing.

āerēs airs (good and bad)

c. The plural of abstract nouns denotes occasions or instances of the quality, or the like.

quaedam excellentiae some cases of superiority
ōtia periods of rest
calōrēs, frīgora times of heat or cold

extras

Suggested Citation

Meagan Ayer, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7. http://dcc.dickinson.edu/grammar/latin/nouns-lacking-plural