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Money-related words: singular or plural?  

This is an area that confuses many people, often because in their own language it may be the opposite! Let’s look at the main problem areas and troubleshoot them. Here are some examples.

Test yourself

  • He had a 20-dollar or 20-dollars meal at the local restaurant.
  • In August 2016, a hacker stole 119,754 bitcoin or bitcoins from a cryptocurrency exchange called Bitfinex.
  • She bought a house for 2 millions or 2 million euros or euro.
  • Two thousand dollars was or were raised for the charity. Two thousand dollars doesn’t or don’t go far nowadays.

Answer key

  • He had a 20-dollar or 20-dollars meal at the local restaurant.
    Note: If placed before the noun it loses the plural, as it is in adjectival position. But “The meal cost 20 dollars” (plural).
  • In August 2016, a hacker stole 119,754 bitcoin or bitcoins from a cryptocurrency exchange called Bitfinex.
    Note: Bitcoin is uncountable.
  • She bought a house for 2 millions or 2 million euros or euro.
    Note: With a specific quantity of hundreds, thousands or millions, use the singular “2 million”, while with an unspecified number, use the plural “millions of euro” or millions of euros”. Both euro and euros are used.
  • Two thousand dollars was or were raised for the charity.
    Two thousand dollars doesn’t or don’t go far nowadays.
    Note: With specific amounts of money, use a singular verb, even if there are plural words like dollars in the noun phrase.

_______________________________________________

Carol Waites (PhD)

Email:  carolswritingtips@gmail.com

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Presentation/editing by Christina O’Shaughnessy (editor)

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