5

In singular English say:

The thing is an end in itself.

How does plural look like then?

The things are the ends in themselves.

Am I right?

5

3 Answers 3

14

It's done like this as well: Peace, love and understanding are ends in themselves, and Mr. Costello is to be commended for advocating them.

1
  • Similar but different. This is an answer to a different question.
    – david6
    May 14, 2014 at 21:57
6

The things are an end in themselves. -- ('respectively' being understood.)

6
  • Isn't that ambiguous between whether they're a single collective end or each is an individually an end?
    – Racheet
    May 14, 2014 at 13:18
  • 1
    Contrast: Peace, love and understanding are an end in themselves. (single collective end)
    – Racheet
    May 14, 2014 at 13:19
  • 1
    Killing badgers, kissing babies and defrauding the public are an end in themselves (multiple individual ends)
    – Racheet
    May 14, 2014 at 13:20
  • It's clear from context in my examples, but it isn't clear grammatically.
    – Racheet
    May 14, 2014 at 13:20
  • 1
    Similarly: John and Marsha are an item. A toothbrush and a can are items.
    – Kyle Hale
    May 14, 2014 at 15:36
3

These things are ends in themselves -- if each 'thing' being referred to is itself an individual end.

The things are an end in themselves -- if the 'things' are collectively an end.

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