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(I don't know if it is entirely appropriate to ask this question here but,) given the following phrases:

  1. The birthday of family members is... (celebrated based on the lunar calendar)
  2. The birthdays of family members are...

Is the singular/plural simply a matter of style or, perhaps more technically, on which number sense you want to focus on? Given that the 'family members' is plural in both cases, the reader knows that there must be multiple birthdays involved... not just one, by the virtue of the 'family members' being plural (as a side note, I guess for this case specifically, and not necessarily in general, as the reader would know about the nature of birthdays and family members). So I guess my question is, are those two versions both accurate/correct (and convey pretty much the same meaning)? Which would be the more preferred in general (if there is a kind of a 'definite' answer/ruling for it)? What kind of impressions do you get when you read phrase 1 versus phrase 2?

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Where else on the Stack Exchange would be more appropriate for your question: biblical hermeneutics beta? Of course your question is apt here!

Both versions of your sentences are correct. To determine whether or not they "convey pretty much the same meaning," a larger context would be needed. As they stand now, however, each sentence says the same thing.

Whether the word preceding the prepositional phrase is singular or plural determines whether the verb that follows that phrase is singular or plural. An example:

The palate of a gourmand is not as finely tuned as that of a gourmet.

The palates of gourmands are not as finely tuned as those of gourmets.

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