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Consider the following comment in a C++ source file:

/* These members are documented with their associated property. */

Should the word property be singular or plural? Each member is associated with exactly one property. However, because there are multiple members, there are multiple properties.

  • I guess both are correct because they have different meanings. For instance, when we are refering to everybody's eyes (sorry I don't have a better example), we say their eyes; when we are refering to the head, respectively, their head. – xiaofeng.li Jun 26 '13 at 5:55
  • 1
    Short answer: singular. There's no ambiguity. – Kris Jun 26 '13 at 13:45
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Of your two options, you would use singular otherwise it would not be accurate.

However, it may be clearer to say "Each member is documented with its associated property". I would suggest it would be even clearer to say "Each member is documented with its corresponding property". Corresponding tends to imply a more one-to-one relationship than associated.

Reference 3. associated in a working or other relationship: a bolt and its corresponding nut.

  • The question is not about rephrasing, though. It's an A or B case. – Kris Jun 26 '13 at 13:46
0

If each member had one and only one property, then the singular would be most appropriate. On the other hand, if one or more members had more than one property, then the plural would be more appropriate.

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