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I am writing up a document for an art exhibit and have found myself a bit confused.

The piece in question is a lidded jar with a stand and handle. The sentence in question is as follows:

Worthy of particular attention are the lidded jars with stand and handle pictured here.

Each jar has one stand and one handle. Is it proper to say "lidded jars with stand and handle," or does this seem to imply an amorphous collection of jars that share a stand and handle? I hesitate to say "lidded jars with stands and handles," as this would imply that multiple stands and handles are attached to each jar.

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marked as duplicate by coleopterist, Robusto, tchrist, MετάEd, Mitch Feb 15 '13 at 15:17

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2 Answers 2

The singular nouns here represent a whole category that can be linked to the headed plural noun. So you are fine. It takes the groups as a whole.

"The country is full of people with song and dance" shares the same kind of syntax and grammar.

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Mr. Randolph, thank you for your prompt and helpful reply! –  Liddedjar Feb 10 '13 at 4:23
    
You are welcome! –  Patrick T. Randolph Feb 10 '13 at 4:35

This is another opportunity for using factorization to analyse the structure: Correct sentence structure and grammar?.

There are many police officers, who each owns a gun.

can be factorized graphically to:

There are many {a police officer who own a gun}s.

However such a representation has to be written in English as either

  • There are many a police officer who owns a gun.
  • There are many police officers who own a gun.

That is a differentiation from

There are many police officers, who each owns some guns.
There are many {a police officer who own guns}s.

  • There are many a police officer who owns guns.
  • There are many police officers who own guns.
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I still don't understand who is stalking my systemic analyses of the English language by down-voting without explanation. –  Blessed Geek Feb 10 '13 at 8:55
    
I didn't downvote you, but I have a hard time figuring out whether you are saying all of those things are acceptable or not. "There are many police officers, who each owns some guns" sounds awful to my ears. In short, I think you could probably clarify your answer some. –  KitFox Feb 15 '13 at 13:30

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