For example, should it state: The beneficiary(ies) on your account were updated? OR The beneficiary(ies) on your account was updated? I'm thinking the first, but want to be sure.

marked as duplicate by Laurel, sumelic, Edwin Ashworth, Community May 1 '18 at 18:40

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  • You should not write with parenned plurals at all. It's too shorthandy confusing. – tchrist May 1 '18 at 17:45
  • Understood, but there is a possibility that one beneficiary is added or more than one are added so I wanted to be able to cover both possibilities. – Liza V May 1 '18 at 18:18
  • I confess I had to Google tchrist's "parenned" - and got nowhere - and still in all seriousness, why would you think about trusting any service provider who tried to distort the language that way? Taking the trouble to count the “beneficiaries” on your account would always yield either the correct number - if accounts had “beneficiaries”. Avoiding the problem would always either force the SP to use “beneficiaries” or reveal the SP’s incompetence. – Robbie Goodwin May 1 '18 at 18:40
  • If you use an ambiguous-number subject indicated by a slash, use an ambiguous-number verb to agree with it, like was/were – John Lawler May 1 '18 at 20:38

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