Is that sentence correct, or would "future" and "present" need to become plural ("futures" and "presents")?

Those as plurals sound weird to me.

If my original sentence isn't grammatically correct, what would be an acceptable way of saying what I'm trying to say?

I also want to avoid clunky phrases such as "his or her".

  • 3
    It sounds fine to my ear the way you wrote it -- cf. english.stackexchange.com/questions/192/… Jul 24, 2015 at 23:59
  • 1
    I personally like the way you wrote it in the title. I don't have a problem with the word futures, but presents sounds very strange, and similar to presence. I think it's especially fine considering you're using those and their for the sake of gender neutrality (I'm assuming).
    – Dumpcats
    Jul 25, 2015 at 0:13
  • 1
    presents makes me think of gifts.
    – Avon
    Jul 25, 2015 at 15:22
  • I would just put a comma after future because without one I read future waste as a noun phrase meaning “waste that will be encountered in the future” and then the rest of the sentence falls apart and must be reparsed from the beginning.
    – Jim
    Jul 28, 2015 at 1:53

2 Answers 2


I don't like a revision that has "futures" and "presents." While I don't like to fall back on the comment that "it doesn't sound right," here it really doesn't.

What about this:

"May those hoping to enjoy the future waste none of the present."

What do you think?

  • 1
    Sorry, that was a moment of confusion -- I don't know why I got the word wrong. I've corrected it.
    – ewormuth
    Jul 25, 2015 at 15:18
  • That's a pretty good suggestion (definitely worth considering). I do like the personal aspect of my original version though.
    – Ryan
    Jul 26, 2015 at 1:48

According to this page (New York’s and Chicago’s transportation systems), the correct sentence would be:

May those hoping to enjoy their futures waste none of their presents.

Futures and presents are indeed words. It may be debatable whether or not to use the plural versions, especially if the people in the sentence share a present and a future.

Quick and dirty tip about it here.

  • 2
    Could you say what on that linked page leads you to that conclusion?
    – Avon
    Jul 25, 2015 at 15:24
  • That page is specifically talking about two nouns, or more specifically, several separate possessors coordinated by and. In the question here, we’ve got “those”, which is a single possessor, albeit a plural one, which is an entirely different situation. Jul 26, 2015 at 18:30
  • [Those is plural.]( grammar.cl/Notes/This_That_These_Those.htm ) Therefore, there are multiple nouns that control their own futures Jul 26, 2015 at 18:37
  • Ignore the formatting issue. Mobile. :/ Jul 26, 2015 at 18:39
  • I fail to see how saying "Bob's and Sarah's..." is different than "Our..." or "Their..." Jul 26, 2015 at 18:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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