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Which form of this sentence is correct and why?

  • Therefore, in a real life system with multiple source and output data formats, separate procedures would have to be written for every combination of source data format and output data format, resulting in the number of such procedures being the product of the number of source and data formats.
  • Therefore, in a real life system with multiple source and output data formats, a separate procedure would have to be written for every combination of source data format and output data format, resulting in the number of such procedures being the product of the number of source and data formats.

I'm leaning towards the latter, but don't have a concrete reason.

UPDATE: Thanks for the feedback. Exactly one procedure is required for each combination. So, I guess the latter version is correct.

Looking at this sentence more carefully, maybe each would be more correct than every.

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Please highlight the relevant differences between the two paragraphs, rather than requiring us to scan through nearly identical texts to find the difference you're referring to. –  Avner Shahar-Kashtan Jun 12 '12 at 6:47
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They're both grammatical. Whether it's 'separate procedures' or 'a separate procedure' depends entirely on whether one procedure is required or more than one. Only you will know that. The only thing I would suggest is that you consider whether the sentence might not be more effective if you broke it down into two or more sentences. –  Barrie England Jun 12 '12 at 6:56
    
I think you meant multiple sources not * multiple source*. –  Noah Jun 12 '12 at 7:06
    
@Noah, I think it is "multiple data formats" with "source and output" modifying "data formats" so singular is actually correct. –  Jim Jun 12 '12 at 7:09
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@BarrieEngland- What's your take on whether to use "each" or "every" in these two cases? –  Jim Jun 12 '12 at 7:10
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2 Answers

One way of testing which version is better is to break the example down into a minimal fragment:

every combination would need separate procedures

every combination would need a separate procedure

Both are grammatical, but only one is right in your case. I believe it's the second one, because it seems you are writing one procedure for each combination.

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As a side note: I also thought changing "have" to "need" would improve readability. Using the O.P.'s wording: a separate procedure would need to be written... –  J.R. Jun 12 '12 at 9:11
    
Can you comment on whether "each" should be used rather than "every"? Or should I open a separate question for that? –  Faheem Mitha Jun 15 '12 at 7:12
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Both are grammatically correct.

But as you have written "...separate procedure/procedures would have to be written for every combination...", it means you need to write procedure(s) for every combination. So, you should choose either procedure or procedures depending on whether each combination requires one procedure or more than one procedure, respectively.

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Can you comment on whether "each" should be used rather than "every"? Or should I open a separate question for that? –  Faheem Mitha Jun 15 '12 at 7:13
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