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I want to express these two facts: there is a front view; and there is a side view.

Which of the following are valid ways of referring to the two views together?

  1. a front and side view;
  2. a front and side views;
  3. a front and a side view;
  4. a front and a side views;
  5. front and side views;

For the valid ones, which of "there is" and "there are" would I use with it?

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1 Answer

You would not mix singular and plural, so all use of "a" with a plural would be out.

You could say that something has "a front and side view" (or "a front and a side view") if it had one of each.

If it had several of each you would say it has "front and side views" (no article). Note that this version could be used to express a single front view and a single side view, but would be slightly ambiguous.

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"You would not mix singular and plural" Ah, then I guess me being a native Portuguese speaker was needlessly confusing me (there the right choice would actually be to mix them: use singular on the adjectives, but plural on the noun) –  R. Martinho Fernandes Jan 7 '13 at 11:11
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@R.MartinhoFernandes What do you mean? Please give an example of something like “a red and a blue cars” in Portuguese. Something seems funny with that idea. You can say "Both a red car and a blue car are good choices” in English. Is that the sort of thing you meant? –  tchrist Jan 7 '13 at 14:26
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Your second paragraph is wrong. While "a front and a side view" suggests two views, "a front and side view" instead suggests a single oblique view of multiple surfaces. –  jwpat7 Jan 7 '13 at 17:03
    
@jwpat7: Not in English as it is conventionally understood. That might be true in mathematics, but if you wanted to express what you mean unambiguously that would involve further explanation. –  Robusto Jan 7 '13 at 17:06
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Gotta agree with @jwpat7 on this; absent further context, "a front and side view" is a single view that affords visibility to the two surfaces simultaneously. (compare: "I have a front and side view" vs. "I have a front and a side view.") –  Hellion Jan 7 '13 at 18:54
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