Plural marking

James D. McCawley jmccawle at MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU
Thu Nov 12 19:27:15 UTC 1998

Östen's posting reminded me of some relevant English examples:
1. When you read out loud a number that has any digits after the decimal
point, the preferred form for the unit is plural, even in "One point zero
zero centimeters/??centimeter". Note likewise,
	more than one person/*persons
	fewer than two persons/*person
2. (This is another illustration of my claim that plural is the
semantically unmarked number in English): 'No' and 'Any' can be used either
with singular or (when combined with a count N) with plural. The division
of labor is that plural is used unless there is a presumption that, if
there were any of the things in question, there would be only one, e.g.
	No students/??student registered for the German reading exam.
	(between the death of John Paul I and the installation of John Paul II)
	No Pope is currently reigning.
	*No Popes are currently reigning.

Jim McCawley

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