Optional plural(s)?

Subject: Optional plural(s)?
From: Jim Witkin <jameswitkin -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2014 10:11:45 -0700

Does anyone still use what I'm calling "optional plural" forms of nouns or
is this old hat. I'm writing about a server used in telecom networks that
can have one or more fans to cool the unit. The number of fans is
determined by the operating environment. I find myself writing something
like, "install the fan(s) etc, etc." Is this still considered correct
usage to indicate "one or more"? If so, should the verb take a singular or
plural form? "The fan(s) cools the unit." or "The fan(s) cool the unit."
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