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Is it okay to say

Their aim is to find which element(s) of the input has(ve) the genuine impact on the output.

My question is concerned with the plural of element(s) and has(ve).

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, sumelic, RaceYouAnytime, choster, Skooba Oct 12 '17 at 13:10

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 2
    'Their aim is to find which input elements have the genuine output impact.' seems clearer to me. – Nigel J Oct 11 '17 at 15:34
  • I'd use "Their aim is to find which element/s of the input has/have the genuine impact on the output." if forced to. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 11 '17 at 16:50
  • So what is your question? Are you asking how to deal with the different verb forms required by your optional pluralisation of the subject? – Andrew Leach Oct 11 '17 at 17:07
  • If so, this would appear to be a duplicate. – Andrew Leach Oct 11 '17 at 17:08
  • Nigel J is right. It is ludicrously bad style to write things like "(s)". I hope this isn't for any kind of serious writing. If you just use the plural, the reader will surely be intelligent enough to understand that it might turn out that only one element has genuine impact. If you truly insist, just write something like "which element or elements of the input have". Don't pollute your essay with ugly, unpronounceable parenthetical nonsense. – rjpond Oct 11 '17 at 18:47
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For clarity, I would suggest :

Their aim is to find which element/s of the input has/have the genuine impact on the output.

  • But this is now writing advice. OP asks a genuine question; you give a workaround, which, although eminently sensible, leaves OP's question unanswered. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 11 '17 at 16:48
  • @EdwinAshworth I shall edit that out, then. – Nigel J Oct 11 '17 at 16:49
  • OP is asking about the rules surrounding the device of shortening say 'I need to find which person or persons did this' to 'I need to find which person/s did this', when further complications arise. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 11 '17 at 16:59
  • @EdwinAshworth I misunderstood. Edited now. – Nigel J Oct 11 '17 at 17:04
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"Their aim is to find which element(s) of the input has(ve) the genuine impact on the output "

1st. If there is more than one element, "elements" should be plural.

2nd. ...the input (3rd singular person) has the genuine...

I hope it helps.

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