What is the plural of “no” and “yes”?

What's the plural of "yes" and "no"?


Wondering how to spell the plural of no and yes? The answer may not be what you think.

The plural of no is noes.

The vote got thirteen noes.
How many noes will I get before I get a yes?
I heard noes from both candidates

The plural of yes is yeses.

The vote got thirteen yeses.
The yeses outnumbered the noes.
Three yeses later, and the idea is becoming a reality.

Note: Sometimes there is more than one correct way to spell a word. (Yes, I know. I see your jaw dropping.) This is true with yes. Merriam-Webster says you can also spell yeses as yesses and noes as nos.

Example: Yesses are often better than nos.

Apostrophes and plurals
You may see them spelled as no’s and yes’s. This is incorrect. Remember: apostrophes are almost never used to make plurals.

Erin Servais is a book editor, author coach, and founder of Dot and Dash, an author-services company. To see how she can help you with your writing project, email her at Erin@dotanddashllc.com.

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Is “data” singular or plural?


Man with laptop. Word bubble says: Hey, girl. Let's check out some data together

Buckle up, folks. People have strong feelings about whether to treat “data” as a singular or plural noun. And we are going to talk all about it today.

Technically, “datum” is the singular version, and “data” is the plural version.

This means—technically—“data” takes a plural version of a verb.


The data are correct.
The data show these numbers.
The data illustrate the findings.

But . . . these days, most people treat “data” as if it were singular. So they use a singular verb with it.


The data is correct.
The data shows these numbers.
The data illustrates the findings.

This is where you have to make a decision. Are you going to be a stickler and fight for “data” as a plural, or are you going to buckle under peer pressure and treat it as singular?

You are entitled to your own thoughts about this. But guess what? Language does change. It evolves. For instance, we don’t use “decimate” to mean “to destroy by one tenth” anymore, right? Or what about “nice”? Once upon a time four centuries ago, it meant “foolish and ignorant.” And once upon a time seven centuries ago, “girl” meant a “small child,” whether they were female or male.

So if you want to treat “data” as a singular noun, go for it. It’s true that the times they are a-changing. And if you want to treat “data” as plural, go for it, too. You’re not incorrect, but know you may find people who think you are.

Erin Servais is a book editor, author coach, and founder of Dot and Dash LLC, an author-services company. She takes authors from the plotting and planning phase, all the way through editing and marketing. To learn more, check out her website: www.dotanddashllc.com. You can also email her at Erin@dotanddashllc.com.

How to Use a Coordinating Conjunction with a Comma in a Sentence

For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So

Coordinating conjunctions often connect two complete thoughts in a sentence. You can remember these words by the acronym FANBOYS, which stands for For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So.

Let’s go over that by looking at this formula:


Here’s what that looks like in a sentence:

The cat ate the pizza, and she thought it tasted good.

“The cate at the pizza” is a complete thought, and “she thought it tasted good” is a complete thought (note that they could both stand on their own as separate sentences). The coordinating conjunction “and” joined the two complete thoughts.

Do you notice anything else about the sentence? A comma goes before the coordinating conjunction when it separates two complete thoughts. That’s the last part of our formula. Now it looks like this:


Let’s look at examples for each of the FANBOYS:

For: The cat ate the pizza, for she was hungry.

And: The cat went to the restaurant, and she ate the pizza.

Nor: The cat does not like pineapple pizza, nor does she like mushroom pizza.

But: The cat doesn’t like mushroom pizza, but she ate it because it was free.

Or: The cat could eat pizza, or she could eat tacos.

Yet: The cat went to the restaurant, yet she could have had a pizza delivered.

So: The cat was really hungry, so she ate four slices of pizza.

To sum up: FANBOYS are words (called “coordinating conjunctions”) that often join two complete thoughts into one sentence. A comma goes before FANBOYS in this situation.


Erin Servais is a book editor, author coach, and founder of Dot and Dash LLC, an author-services company. To learn how she can help you with your next book project, check out http://www.dotanddashllc.com or email Erin@dotanddashllc.com.

Passive Voice vs. Active Voice

Passive voice vs. Active voice

Many writers use passive voice without realizing it and knowing what it is. This is a problem because it makes sentences difficult to understand. Passive voice confuses readers as to who or what is doing the action of the sentence. The solution is to use active voice.

In this lesson you’ll learn: what passive voice is, how to recognize it in sentences, and how to correct it and make it active voice.

Let’s start by looking at these two sentences:

“The man ate the sandwich.”
“The sandwich was eaten by the man.”

Does one of them seem unnecessarily wordy and awkwardly phrased? That’s what using the passive voice often does to your writing.

 When you use active voice, the subject of the sentence does the action. But when you use passive voice, the subject of the sentence receives the action.

Look again at the first sample sentence. In it, the man (subject) is eating the sandwich (doing the action). The subject is an active participant in what’s going on. This is active voice.

Now look at the second sentence. Here the sandwich is the subject and the man is receiving the action of eating. This is passive voice.

Why is active voice better?
Active voice makes your writing clearer and more concise. Using passive voice can make your writing overly wordy and vague, often resulting in sentences that technically make sense but don’t sound quite right.

There’s also a difference in tone between active and passive voice. Active voice often sounds much stronger and clearer. Meanwhile, passive voice sounds slipperier and more evasive—almost like you’re trying to talk around something rather than addressing it head on.

How to write in active voice
Let’s go back one more time to the man and his sandwich:

“The sandwich was eaten by the man.”

Step 1: Identify the subject of the sentence.

The sandwich was eaten by the man.”

Step 2: Identify the action of the sentence.

“The sandwich was eaten by the man.”

Step 3: Ask who is doing this action?

“The sandwich was eaten by the man.”

Step 4: Rephrase the sentence so the person doing the action is the subject of the sentence:

Then you get: “The man ate the sandwich.”

A quick way to find who or what does the action of a sentence is to look for the words “by the.” What comes after that is usually the subject. Sometimes it’s going to be a little more complicated than this and you might have to use the context of the surrounding sentences to figure out who is doing the action.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you should always use active voice and never use passive voice. Sometimes passive voice does work better. For example, if the action is more important than who or what is doing that action, and you want to highlight that in your writing, then using passive voice makes more sense. The important thing is to use passive and active voice consciously—know what the effect of using each one will be and which one will most effectively convey what you want to say.

Maud Grauer wrote today’s post. She is new to Dot and Dash and will be working with Erin to write these informative blog posts here and on the Dot and Dash blog, along with other future educational materials. You can email her at Maud@dotanddashllc.com.

Compliment vs. Complement

compliment vs. complement

Compliment and complement sound the same but are spelled differently, so it’s easy to get the two confused in your writing. In this blog post, we’ll discuss their definitions and learn how to remember the two spellings.

Compliment as a verb means saying something nice. As a noun, it means the nice thing that is said.

Verb: The rat complimented the mouse’s suspenders.
Noun: The rat’s compliment made the mouse smile.

Complement as a verb means to complete. As a noun, it means something that completes.

Verb: The mouse’s suspenders complemented his outfit.
Noun: The suspenders were the perfect complement to his outfit.

How to remember the difference
Complement sort of looks like the word complete, and it means to complete.

Think complement = complete.

You can also note that both words have an E in the middle (rather than an I).

Fill in the blanks below with compliment or complement. The answers are below.

1. Rupert’s jeweled brooch _______s his look.
2. The expensive car was the _______ to her “perfect” life.
3. Tina _______ed her by saying, “You look hotter than a dead raccoon in the afternoon sun.”
4. Hilda hoped to get an A on the test, which would _______ her semester’s perfect grades.
5. The suitor’s _______ was her favorite part of their date.
1. complement 2. complement 3. compliment 4. complement 5. compliment


Erin Servais is a book editor, author coach, and founder of Dot and Dash LLC, an author-services company. To learn how her team can help you with your writing project, email Erin@dotanddashllc.com or visit www.dotanddashllc.com.