Pluralize Intelligently with PHP

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Posted on June 03, 2006 1:53 PM in Web Development
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

If you've ever created a blog or other site that reports article views or comments, you've probably run into the problem of intelligently handling the pluralization of words. For example, if there has been only one comment on a particular article or blog entry, you'll want to report "1 comment" and not "1 comments," since the former is obviously more intelligent and appropriate. This problem is an easy one to solve, but here's a function you can use if you don't feel like reinventing the wheel:

// function for pluralizing a word intelligently
function pluraleyes($num, $word)
 return ($num == 1) ? $word : $word . 's';

Then, to utilize the function, simply call it like this:

Article viewed <? echo $views . ' ' . pluraleyes($views, 'time'); ?>.

Easy, right?


Mike on June 05, 2006 at 3:08 PM:

It's a bit picky of me, but you might want to expand your function a bit to include the singular and the plural form of the word. Tacking a "s" onto the end of the word doesn't always work, thanks to all the wonderful "rules" we have in the English language. Having something like "1 person dugg this article" and "14 people dugg this article" makes things read a little easier.


Bernie Zimmermann on June 05, 2006 at 7:22 PM:

Good point, Mike. The function isn't very robust at all, and I actually meant to point that out. There are other rules such as "3 passers by" or "9 octopii" that need to be considered as well (although my function might actually accidentally handle the former). Luckily I'm not tracking octopii visits on any of my sites ;)

If anyone creates a more robust version of the function, please either share or post a link here!


Logan Koester on December 17, 2007 at 10:51 AM:

Good enough for what I'm doing at the moment. Thank you!


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