I saw a white figure inside the house. A ghost? But my uncle had told me they didn't exist.

Is this common in informal English? If not, what's the correct alternative?

  • The singular and plural forms of ghosts (plural implied) occur in different sentences, or (reworded) one sentence joined with a conjunction (but). So there is no grammatical rule/guideline that requires such consistency. – James Aug 16 '15 at 15:15

It's not really an inconsistency because the first comment is speaking of a specific ghost; the latter refers to ghosts in general. Ex:

"I thought I saw a shark. I'm pretty sure they don't live in lakes, though."

"There's a homeless man sleeping under a garbage pile. Well, that's where they sleep in the winter."

  • Exactly. It's very unlikely that the writer's uncle told him that that particular ghost didn't exist. – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 16 '15 at 15:10

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