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Should I use singular or plural after "there are many cases where"?

Example:

There are many cases where patient/patients lack/lacks the required knowledge yet they/she work/works it out.

As we are speaking generally in this kind of sentences, singular sounds more natural. But then is it OK as "cases" is plural?

  • @FabriceDejean Your edit clearly changes the author's intent, so has been rejected. – marcellothearcane Jul 12 '17 at 15:34
6

Either form works, provided the singular form includes "a" in front of "patient":

There are many cases where a patient lacks the required knowledge yet s/he works it out.

Otherwise, the plural form would be preferable:

There are many cases where patients lack the required knowledge yet they work it out.

  • 3
    You could also use the definite article: "There are many cases where the patient lacks ..." The definite article only works where it is a given that each case has one patient. – AndyT Jul 11 '17 at 10:42
2

You can use both singular and plural after "there are many cases where".

Example:

Singular:
-There are many cases where I have chosen to use singular over plural.
-There are many cases where it is not right to commit a crime.

Plural:
-There are many cases where people have believed controversial things.
-There are many cases where disasters have wiped out entire towns.

Your example can work both ways.
Singular might sound more natural to you but that is just because of your background, plural might sound more natural to someone else. Both are perfectly acceptable though.

"There are many cases where" is a dependent or subordinate clause. If you just have "There are many cases", you can see that that is a complete sentence. In this case, "where" acts as a conjunction and just links these two independent clauses together.

So the second clause (independent) does not depend on the first clause (dependent), it's the other way around.

Hope this helps!

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+50

They can both be correct, depending on how you phrase the sentence, and what you are talking about.

There are many cases where a patient lacks the required knowledge yet they/she work/works it out.

There are many cases where patients lack the required knowledge yet they work it out.


In the first sentence, we are referring to 1 individual at a time, with many examples of a single individual. You can use they/she, and work/works. However, depending on whether or not every individual you are talking about is a she, it may be best to stick in the 3rd person plural. They/work.

In the second sentence, we are referring to multiple patients, or a case including a group of patients (at one time). In this case again, 3rd person plural is the best option.

Also, commas, and completing the thought.

There are many cases where patients lack the required knowledge , yet they work it out in the end.

  • Do "patient" need article "a" in the first sentence? It seems we are talking about something in general. – Sasan Jul 13 '17 at 20:19
  • It would be acceptable to use, "a" or "the", as the sentence is referring to a singular "patient". When referring to the noun in a general sense, then it would be the plural form, "Patients" . – EducationMajor Jul 13 '17 at 20:21
  • I consider this answer better than vynsane's because you have included an explanation of why. – Jeff Zeitlin Jul 14 '17 at 19:30
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I think you should use There are many cases where patient/patients lack/lacks the required knowledge yet they/she work/works it out.

Because you started with "there are..."

I think this topic is Subject And Verb.Agreement. However, I think we should wait for the next answer to be sure.

  • Your answer is correct in my opinion. You should try to expand on the rationale and give a few different examples or references if possible. – John Hamilton Jul 4 '17 at 10:40
  • Both singular and plural constructions work here. But there is no reason to use slashes, which should be avoided when they are not absolutely necessary. – Peter Shor Jul 4 '17 at 11:10
  • At the beginning, the plural verb are agrees with the plural there, and that is separate from what follows. The phrase that follows can itself have a plural or singular subject independantly. – Octopus Jul 15 '17 at 7:57

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