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The dog lay down on the grass.
The dog lay down on the grasses.
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The number of pupils are increasing.
The number of pupils is increasing.
A number of pupils is absent today.
A number of pupils are absent today.

When we precede number by the it denotes a unit and is singular. When it's preceded by a it means several or many and is plural.

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The class were divided in their opinions.
The class was divided in its opinion.

A collective noun usually takes a singular verb, but when it denotes the individual members of the group and not the group as a whole use a plural verb.

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There is some girls waiting outside.
There are some girls waiting outside

There is changes to there are if the noun that follows is the plural.

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They're now using new machinery.
They're now using new machineries.

Machinery is a singular noun and always takes a singular verb and pronoun. We can say a piece of machinery or pieces of machinery

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