A: Which are the Canadian Falls?
B: They're on our right.
The Horseshoe Falls is another name for the Canadian Falls.
A: So, the American Falls are across the river on our left.

Falls, when is it singular and plural?
Help me!

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Original Post
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language* has this definition under "falls" meaning "waterfall":

falls (used with a sing. or pl. verb) A waterfall.

In your reported conversation, either "is" or "are" go with Falls, except when the predicate nominative, in this case, "name" is definitely singular.

You might use the plural verb if you think of the Falls as coming from more than one place, as I think both the Canadian and American Falls do at Niagara Falls; that is, there is not just one big stream to be seen, but several distinct places over a wide area that the water flows over.

When you think of the Falls as one place, as an attraction like the Grand Canyon, you could use a singular verb, as in these examples:

About 12,000 years ago, Niagara Falls was 11 kilometres (7 miles) downstream from its http://www.infoniagara.com/d-att-canadian.html

Any time of the year Niagara Falls is awesome

The Canadian Falls is approximately 52 metres(170 ft) high. ...The Canadian Falls was first described as "horseshoe" shaped in 1721. http://www.infoniagara.com/d-att-canadian.html

An internet search for "Angel Falls" produced the phrase with only a singular verb. Examples are:

Angel Falls - spills from the Auyantepui into what is...

Angel Falls is sixteen times the height of Niagara Falls.

Perhaps the possibility of a plural verb with Niagara Falls, and the Canadian and American Falls, is due to the fact that it covers quite a wide area and could be considered to consist of many falls. A waterfall such as Angel Falls, on the other hand, is very tall and narrow, and makes one think of one waterfall, rather than several together.

However, the word "falls" alone, without "Angel," referring to Angel Falls, does have a plural verb.

A search on the internet showed the name of Iguassu Falls with a plural verb:

Iguassu Falls are nearly three times wider than Niagara Falls http://www.bbc.co.uk/50/destinations/iguassu_50/

The Iguaçú Falls are located in the Iguaçú National Park, at the border of Brazil and Argentina.


Click on the websites above to see how "Falls" is used, as well as for some spectacular photos.

As is often the case, more than one way of using the language is correct.

*The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin.l 2003

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