first question here. Hope I'm doing it right.

English is my native language, and the first option sounds correct to me. "Bitcoin is great, it's products like this which are driving innovation, etc." (just to give you an idea of the type of sentence I have at hand.

It's this seemingly contrasting singular / plural aspect that is making it extremely hard to explain why it is that I believe the first is correct.

The subject of my sentence is singular (in the example above it's Bitcoin), which is why I'm using the third person "it", and then "this".

I think it boils down to "products" throwing people off here. Long story short, am I right in using "it's products like this", or should I be saying "these", and presume that along with Bitcoin there are other - unspoken things that are part of this sentence?



1 Answer 1


3 Part Answer

1) Using "products like this" is correct here, as the product referred to is a singular noun - Bitcoin.

If the speaker/writer were referring to productS plural - eg bulletS / beanS / ballbearingS - then "like these" should be used.

Similarly, if a headteacher is talking in a school assembly about an individual pupil that has excelled in something, they may say "children like THIS show us what can be achieved ...". But if it were a group of kids being referred to, they may say "children like THESE show us ..."

2) Though I believe the above to be true, we also use "like this / that" as a 'one size fits all' expression regardless of whether it's referring to a singular or plural, which I believe to be a modern relaxation of grammar. It's highly common, perhaps on a par in terms of regularity of usage with, for example, people saying "less people" rather than the grammatically correct "fewer people".

3) The "It's + noun (singular / plural) + relative clause" structure is unrelated. It's a device used to add emphasis.

  • It's arguable that 'one less problem' is more acceptable ('correct', if you like) than 'one fewer problem'. Certainly, 'Bacon and eggs are my favourite breakfast' would often be marked wrong. One has to be careful that 'rules' really are as accepted as one claims / thinks they are. 'It's us' seems to break one or two. // 'Products like these' may be using notional agreement, with 'these' representing 'Bitcoin and similar products', just as 'Liverpool were held to a draw' represents 'The players on the Liverpool team were held to a draw'. Oct 15, 2017 at 17:01

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