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Which of the following is correct when addressing an audience or more than one person? Or are both equally valid?

I hope you have all had wonderful summers!

OR

I hope you have all had a wonderful summer!

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Dan Bron, NVZ, Hank, Hellion Feb 21 '17 at 16:46

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    Your reference is to one specific summer, so it's singular. – Centaurus Aug 28 '16 at 23:29
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    @Centaurus +1, but perhaps intent matters: summer as season, or summer as holiday. With the latter, the summers form doesn't sound so bad. – Lawrence Aug 29 '16 at 23:35
  • @Centaurus Not a totally convincing argument. 'They both came a cropper' doesn't necessarily refer to the same misadventure, but the singular is idiomatic. And with 'Welcome back to the course. I hope you've all had a good holiday / good holidays', either is available, even though there is only one holiday period involved and the 'going away' count sense isn't necessarily implied. As Lawrence implies, focus (considering individuals rather than the group as a whole) permits the plural. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 30 '16 at 7:56
  • @EdwinAshworth Context is everything. Without any supporting context, I agree with you that both singular and plural nouns are acceptable. The sentence given by the OP, however, is directed to a specific audience. I would find it awkward to say "I hope you have all had wonderful summers" or "Have nice weekends". when addressing a group. – Centaurus Aug 30 '16 at 17:04
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    @Centaurus I agree. Much better comment. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 30 '16 at 22:10
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Replace summer with another word to see how it fits:

I hope you have all had wonderful dinners

Sounds clumsy - you're implying that each individual has had more than one dinner.

I hope you have all had wonderful times

Even clumsier.

So:

I hope you have all had a wonderful summer

I hope you have all had a wonderful dinner

I hope you have all had a wonderful time

So, while many of them have had the same experience, each person has only experienced the one thing

  • Compare I hope all those different people had wonderful summers TO I hope all those different people had a wonderful summer. The latter makes it seem like all those different people had the same wonderful summer. Try it with lives: Compare I hope all those different people had wonderful lives TO I hope all those different people had a wonderful life. In both cases, the latter seems wrong. – Richard Kayser Aug 29 '16 at 1:49
  • Nope - I don't see it. – HorusKol Aug 29 '16 at 1:51
  • I'll stand pat. – Richard Kayser Aug 29 '16 at 2:18
  • Perhaps an even more telling example is 'A good time was had by all.' There is a massification involved. Obviously, it's not open to deep scrutiny – they didn't all have exactly the same experiences – but it's idiomatic, paraphrasable by 'They all enjoyed themselves'. With @Richard Kayser's 'They all [lived] wonderful lives', the massification might well be overdoing it: the 'universal grinder approach' {Wikipedia} is less to be recommended. So 'time', 'summer', but 'lives'. And I'd say that 'holiday / holidays' give different emphases. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 29 '16 at 12:22
  • @EdwinAshworth I have no issues with "A good time was had by all." I have tried to clarify my answer. – Richard Kayser Aug 29 '16 at 22:00
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I hope you have all had wonderful summers!

OR

I hope each of you had a wonderful summer!

In the first sentence, we have a plural audience (you have all). We can also assume that each person had their own form of summer vacation, independent of the others. Given that, the object should be plural, i.e., summers, not summer.

To explain further: If members of the plural audience had been served the same meal or gone on the same day trip, and then reconvened, one would say:

I hope you have all had a wonderful meal OR I hope you have all had a wonderful day trip. [singular objects]

On the other hand, if they had all gone their own separate ways for meals or day trips, and then reconvened, one would say:

I hope you have all had wonderful meals OR I hope you have all had wonderful day trips. [plural objects]

I have consciously refrained from rewriting the OP's example.

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