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The boxes are each containers of uniquely colored balls. So, to get two balls of the same color, two boxes need to be opened.

or

The boxes are each a container of uniquely colored balls. So, to get two balls of the same color, two boxes need to be opened.

1 Answer 1

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To reduce the confusion, I would edit as follows: "Each of the two boxes contains uniquely colored balls. Thus, to get two balls of the same color, both boxes need to be opened." -or- if there are more than two boxes, you could write: "Each of the boxes contains uniquely colored balls. Thus, to get two balls of the same color, two boxes need to be opened."

Best wishes!

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    You should emphasize that your answer shows that the when "each " is the subject,it takes a singular verb. Jun 12, 2017 at 13:09
  • 2
    But, my question is not about the clarity of the sentence. I ask whether the proper English usage is "... are each containers ..." or "... are each a container ..." Jun 12, 2017 at 13:59
  • @TadeusPrastowo the answer to your comment is "neither." It has to be rewritten. Jun 12, 2017 at 14:20
  • And, from the grammatical point of view, which one is grammatically correct? "... are each containers ..." or "... are each a container ..."? Jun 12, 2017 at 18:02
  • But, Carl Witthoft’s comment addressed both the clarity and the proper English usage… even though the question wasn’t asked, but left to be assumed. The meaning is perfectly clear in both passages but to justify either grammatically would take a whole troupe of devious pin-dancers and still, both would be so hideously unidiomatic it’s almost certain they’re unreal contrivances for theoretical study. The real options would be The boxes are containers/ … contain or Each box is a container/ … contains Either way both need to be… suits two. Two boxes need to be… works for more. Jun 26, 2017 at 14:05

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