Why when we count the Omer, according to the ArtScroll Siddur, for days 2 - 10, we use the plural ימים, however, from day 11 and on, we switch to the singular and say יום - for example: היום שלשה עשר יום.... לעומר?

  • 2
    I don't think everyone does this. Art Scroll has its "quirks", IMO. They aren't always consistent.
    – DanF
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 14:22
  • 1
    In the Torah it says ביום שנים עשר יום נשיא לבני נפתלי so this is probably just normal Hebrew grammar even if it's different from English
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 14:25
  • Although I haven’t seen this discussed anywhere, it appears to be distinguishing the value of ten, which is associated with things which are kodesh, like the concept of Minyan that we learn from Avraham Avinu and also ‘hashrat HaShechinah’. Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


For years, days and many other words Tanakh is using the singular form for one object, there is a separate form for two objects, for 3 to 10 it uses the plural form, and reverts back to the singular form above 10. I have found a verse where you can see all of them at once.

Bemidbar 11:19

לֹ֣א י֥וֹם אֶחָ֛ד תֹּֽאכְל֖וּן וְלֹ֣א יוֹמָ֑יִם וְלֹ֣א ׀ חֲמִשָּׁ֣ה יָמִ֗ים וְלֹא֙ עֲשָׂרָ֣ה יָמִ֔ים וְלֹ֖א עֶשְׂרִ֥ים יֽוֹם׃

Bereishit 14:4-5

(...) שְׁתֵּ֤ים עֶשְׂרֵה֙ שָׁנָ֔ה עָֽבְד֖וּ אֶת־כְּדָרְלָעֹ֑מֶר וּשְׁלֹשׁ־עֶשְׂרֵ֥ה שָׁנָ֖ה מָרָֽדוּ׃ וּבְאַרְבַּע֩ עֶשְׂרֵ֨ה שָׁנָ֜ה בָּ֣א כְדָרְלָעֹ֗מֶר וְהַמְּלָכִים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתּ֔וֹ

Bemidbar 1:3

מִבֶּ֨ן עֶשְׂרִ֤ים שָׁנָה֙ וָמַ֔עְלָה כָּל־יֹצֵ֥א צָבָ֖א בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל תִּפְקְד֥וּ אֹתָ֛ם לְצִבְאֹתָ֖ם אַתָּ֥ה וְאַֽהֲרֹֽן׃

There are many other examples at the genealogies (see one from Bereishit 11:12-26). However, this is not a universal rule for all words (שְׁנֵ֣ים עָשָׂ֣ר אֲנָשִׁ֔ים etc.).

  • I’m not sure that this is true in all cases. I think it’s only for a number of (common) nouns that the singular is used past ten.
    – Joel K
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 14:50
  • @JoelK Indeed, there are many exceptions: וּשְׁתֵּ֤ים עֶשְׂרֵה֙ מַצֵּבָ֔ה לִשְׁנֵ֥ים עָשָׂ֖ר שִׁבְטֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 14:57

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