1

Is it: "coming to these conclusions on the basis of this study" or "coming to these conclusions on the bases of this study"? Do we use the singular "basis" because it is just one study or the plural "bases" because there are many conclusions?

To correctly use the plural would we have to say something like: "Coming to these conclusions, on these bases, i decided..."?

  • 2
    It doesn't matter how many conclusions or how many studies there are, there is just one "basis", so it's singular. You would even say "coming to these conclusions on the basis of these studies". – Peter Shor Oct 11 '13 at 3:52
  • Even if you have several factors contributing individually and severally to one or more conclusions, use basis -- the reference is to the relationship, not the individual contribution(s) at all. 'Candidates (several) may be screened on the basis of their (plural) age, qualifications, experience and potential (several)'. – Kris Oct 11 '13 at 6:51
  • So are we saying that in the above example we can only ever use "basis" because in this instance the word is interchangeable with "because"? – Confused Oct 12 '13 at 16:54
  • We do not have multiple foundations for a house, but sometimes it is useful to use the word foundations. Could you avoid the issue by saying "each basis?" – Hoe Mar 3 '18 at 21:44
4

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines basis in this way:

The underlying support or foundation for an idea, argument, or process

Since it is defined as the underlying foundation, it seems that it can only ever be singular - you can't have two foundations under your house, that would sound weird. You have one foundation.

Therefore, basis is singular no matter how many studies or conclusions there are, making coming to these conclusions on the basis of this study the correct usage.

  • Except that people use "bases" all the time, when an idea, argument, or process has more than one underlying support or foundation. For example: "the bases of his argument are X and Y". – Peter Shor Oct 11 '13 at 4:11
  • 1
    And conversely, MW has the example: The company does not hire employees on the basis of their race, sex, age, or religion. 'On the basis of' may be considered decomposable (allowing bases) or an idiom virtually equivalent to 'based on a consideration of' or 'taking into account'. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 11 '13 at 11:24

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.