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16

The singular word "man" is used to agree with the determiner "a." Learner's dictionary provides the following explanation for why an author might use "many" instead of "many a": The fixed expression many a/an... is more formal than the single word many, and it is much less common. Many a/an... is used mainly in literary writing and newspapers. Like ...


11

John Fortescue, The Difference Between an Absolute and Limited Monarchy (written around 1471 according to Wikipedia but published under that name in 1714) uses the word themself three times in the course of his discourse: But afterward, whan Mankynd was more mansuete, and better disposyd to Vertue, Grete Communalties, as was the Feliship, that came into ...


7

Although the form themself sounds utterly barbarous to many anglophone ears including mine, OED indeed lists it, with examples of the relevant usage ranging from the fifteenth century (four examples) to 2007: In anaphoric reference to a singular pronoun or noun of undetermined gender or where the meaning implies more than one: himself or herself. Cf. ...


6

Hmm... Did you consider that "them"'s referrent might be unexpressed? Them refers not to cookie, but to "cookies", the plural form of the noun expressed in the sentence and whose existence is implied. Not all pronouns belong to nouns that are expressed elsewhere in the sentence. "Are they going to help?" "They" is all by itself. Or try: "The man called and ...


6

Your example sounds just fine to my ear, but if I replace the subject and verb in the sentence, I can create a less acceptable sentence, such as: I like this teacher so much that I befriended dozens of them. Or, even more absurd sounding: I like Mike so much that I befriended dozens of them. The absurdity owes to the pronoun-antecedent disagreement, ...


6

I feel that this may well be a duplicate, but I can't discover an original. These Google Ngrams show that decades are used with singular or plural agreement. They're essentially collective nouns for the years they contain. At least in the UK, referring to the Thirties say (and notice that the noun is often regarded as a proper name) and having in mind the ...


6

“Themself” Themself was used in the past, and there is no law that prohibits anyone from using it today. I have used it in personal correspondence, conscious of its rebellious and contradictory appearance, but I was ready to defend myself if anyone queried its usage; however, I have to confess many of my correspondents are in the field of language ...


4

You can't swap "51,000 people" (a plural) for "that" (a singular). If you swapped it for a simpler pronoun instead, it stops working: "This is what they looks [sic] like." But it works because of the reasons in chasly's comment. You are referring to the entire crowd of 51,000 as a single entity. "This is what a crowd of 51,000 people looks like." You ...


3

It is, presently, a grammatical dead end when followed narrowly, but there are sometimes ways out if you look far enough out to the sides. Using "one" or "that person" as a reference to what the pronoun is replacing can be effective and grammatical. In your question, the bolded phrase ("all by themself/themselves") could be more concisely replaced by an ...


3

Often coming out is a verb form rather than a noun We bit the bullet and are coming out to our parents today! No plural necessary. Often it is an adjectival form We wanted a coming out party to share our happiness with the world. No plural necessary. Maybe when the gerund stands by itself, it should be considered an uncountable noun, like ...


3

If the two are considered as a unit, you use the singular verb: Where is the pestle and mortar? Mumford and sons is my favourite band. However, when each noun is considered to be a separate unit, you use a plural verb: My sister and my mother keep contradicting me. The battery and the engine seem to have died. Unless you really ...


3

In general, a plural pronoun should go with a plural referent. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule, and I believe this is one of them. In particular, you can use a number of them, dozens of them, hundreds of them, many of them, and so on with a singular referent. Consider the following sentences, all taken from the internet (found by ...


3

One never forms plurals out of English words via an apostrophe. The apostrophe indicates a possessive, not a plural. The English plural of Morpheus is simply the regular plural Morpheuses.


2

In keeping with your example of "lens," add "iris." In keeping with the puzzle nature of the question, "rebus." Any medical condition ending in -itis, e.g., "bronchitis." Any word ending with the suffix -osis, e.g., "hypnosis."


2

If you allow multiples of the letter s, there are a ton (class, pass, mass, etc). If you restrict it to words that end with a single s, I suspect there are still a great many. Dias, bias, alias, octopus, cactus, and mucus all come to mind. Come up with common word endings that have an s and I think you can generate more.


2

Here's your questions: How can use of a "singular they" truly be reconciled? Is it really as much of a linguistic dead end as it feels to me? The questions themselves clearly assume the absurdity of "themself" and rightly so, despite the past trace of its usage, which, in and of itself, does not really mean anything about its current usage, for its ...


2

If you analyse the sentences logically, you come to the following interpretations: Everything happens for a reason. ----> Every individual thing happens for some reason. "All things happen for reasons." ----> All things happen for one or more reasons each. "All things happen for a reason" ----> All (different) things happen for the same reason. (e.g. ...


2

You can use this phrase, for example, in talking about how a divorced parent should deal with his ex-spouse for the sake of the children: If you're divorced and have children, you should do right by them and maintain a good relationship with your ex-spouse. This means that by not fighting with the ex-spouse, you provide a benefit to the children. ...


2

Here is an Ngram chart for the years 1900–2008 tracking "status quos" (blue line) versus "stati quo" (nonvisible red line) versus "statibus quibus" (nonvisible green line) versus "statuses quo" (nonvisible yellow line): The red line, the green line, and the yellow line aren't visible because the matches for those terms are too few to register against the ...


2

There are a number of clear contrasts. but contrary to this, I usually see: There is a vast array of clear contrasts. Is there any rationale behind it? Although the choice of singular or plural verb is ultimately up to the writer or speaker, I agree with you that your example sentences reflect what one usually sees and hears people writing ...


2

Although you don't want "larger" changes to the sentence structure, I think that a minor change-- "Everyone put A die in the middle"--best clears this up.


1

According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, "many a something" is formal and old-fashioned and means a large number of people or things. The followings are some of the examples: - Many a parent has had to go through this same painful process. - I've sat here many a time (=often) and wondered what happened to her.


1

This is a kind of metonymy. Within the realm of metonymy, it is a case of synecdoche; more specifically, it is a pars pro toto, but applied in a peculiar construction, pluralising the pars. (In a way, metonymy is a subclass of metaphory.)


1

I have often heard "dice" used as a singular, and while many sources reject it, the 1998 New Oxford Dictionary of English apparently accepted it. Wiktionary has details. I wouldn't be thrown off too badly by this sentence, but I also see how it may be confusing to read "dice" but roll only one die. If the goal is to be as clear and correct as possible, you ...


1

According to a variety of references, you may use is and are depending on the context. Here is an excerpt from Grammar Girl's appropriately named Quick & Dirty Tips: Let’s use the collective noun “couple” as an example. When you are thinking of the couple as two separate people doing separate things, you would probably use a plural verb. For ...


1

Here are two sentences containing both the plural and singular forms. "Fred faced a nasty ordeal at work, and needed to relax by walking through the park afterwards." In this case, it sounds like Fred had a single difficult day at work, so he decided to walk in the park (with the added implication that he doesn't always do this). Perhaps the electricity ...


1

Actually, it is reversed order. The days are not open, the library is -- "library" is the (singular) subject. The "normal" order would be "The library is open what days?" Consider that you would use "are" in "What days are the city libraries open?"


1

I also would prefer the neither/nor construction suggested by FumbleFingers in his comment. But if that weren't an alternative, I would probably use "light" rather than "lights". My rationale is that light, at least when used in this sense, is an uncountable noun. "Uncountable" is defined by Wiktionary as: A noun that cannot be used freely with ...


1

Use the singular, because you began with "Both" and identified each singular item you are describing. Also capitalize, as RegDwight posted.


1

It is definitely "a huge amount", since amount is countable. That said, "a huge amount of computing" is very awkward. "Computing" is not usually viewed as something that you can have an amount of. I would suggest either "a huge amount of computing power" (if you mean that you need powerful computers, or many computers running in parallel) or "a huge amount ...



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