Positives changes on the cards in Nigeria.

What does it mean? Is this correct usage?

Usually I have read "positive". I think it makes a lot of difference whether we use "positives" or "positive" in this sentence.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's either a typo or a mistranscription by the OP. There's no possible justification for appending an s to adjectival positive, and it doesn't "mean" anything.. Apr 4, 2015 at 21:44
  • check this out:thehindu.com/opinion/columns/… Apr 4, 2015 at 21:45
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    Written by a non-native speaker, no doubt. Perhaps this would do better on English Language Learners Apr 4, 2015 at 21:47
  • Man i just want to know if we positives makes any sense.i am unable to interpret what the writer is trying to say.if would be great if you explain this.please Apr 4, 2015 at 21:49
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    @BrianHitchcock Well, on the cards is idiomatic British English (and presumably this has transferred to Indian English). It indicates a likely occurrence.
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 5, 2015 at 0:11

1 Answer 1


The headline is not correct. In English, the plural of (a) positive change is - positive changes

That is, the adjective does not take a "plural" form to modify a plural noun (in other languages, such as Spanish, it would, but not in English.)

As for "on the cards": Initially, this struck me as odd—the common AmE idiom is in the cards (meaning something presumably will happen in future—or is predicted to happen). However, I have since been informed that "on the cards" is the usual idiomatic way to say this in BrE.

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    I had never heard "in the cards" but ngrams show both "in" and "on" are used.
    – Centaurus
    Apr 5, 2015 at 2:03
  • You neglect to mention that "in the cards" is used more than 45x as often as "on the cards", and has never been less than 6x as popular (English corpus). In BrE corpus, "in the cards" is used, recently, more than 20x as often ( "on the cards" does not occur before 1825). In AmE corpus, it's about 100x as often (with "on the cards" not occurring before 1850). So it seems "on the cards" is relatively rare on both sides of the pond. But I changed my answer to not call it "wrong". Nor is it obsolete or archaic; it's no rarer now than it was 100 years ago. Apr 5, 2015 at 4:50
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    @Brian: I think you're massively overstating things. True, It's In the cards has become more common than on in AmE over recent decades, but nothing like 20-40 times more. And if you switch to the BrE corpus there you'll see in is still virtually unknown in BrE. Apr 5, 2015 at 11:55
  • ...to me, on the cards in OP's citation is a perfectly ordinary idiom simply meaning likely, and with no particular connection to fortune-telling. But the in version strongly implies that more literal sense to me. Apr 5, 2015 at 12:00
  • @FumbleFingers: I searched "in the cards, on the cards"; whereas you searched "it's in the cards, it's on the cards". That's why the discrepancy jn the ratios we found. Apr 6, 2015 at 0:24

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