Why do people add s at the end of non plural words. Please help.


I would like to know why people add 's' at the end of certain words that are not supposed to be plural. Here is an example and please explain when to use 's':


- Become and Becomes. When to use becomes?

- Say and says. When to use says?
- The basic rule states that a singular subject takes a singular verb, while a plural subject takes a plural verb

asked Jan 16 '13 at 03:16 t New member

1 answer


Hi t,


the -s marker found at the end of words can mean different things, depending on what type of word it's attaching to.


The -s that you're talking about, which attaches to verbs, is not the same type of marker as the -s which attaches to nouns to form the plural.


When you use -s on a verb, like say or become, it's just an agreement marker to show that the subject of the clause is 3rd person singular, i.e. she, he, one, or it.


Historically, verbs in English had all kinds of subject agreement markers, and would be marked differently depending on whether the verb was attached to I, thou, he/she/it, we, you, or they. But over the years, most of these markers were dropped from the language, leaving only the overt -s marker for 3rd person singular.


This can be confusing when learning the grammatical structure of English, because it sounds identical to the plural marker -s which goes on nouns, but they are actually two entirely different units of meaning.


You can look at present verb conjugation paradigms in English, and you will notice that the verbs always take the same form, except on the 3rd person singular - that's the only time to use -s on a verb (in standard or formal English).

link comment edited Jan 16 '13 at 14:47 Rev. Gerry Turner New member

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