This case really bothers me while I am speaking. Here is the situation: I have a group of four students. Each has the textbook named "Gandhi Readers". So, there are four textbooks, yet there is only one kind (Gandhi Readers). Now, when I wanna tell them to close the textbooks and put them in their bags, may I say "close your TEXTBOOK and put it in your BAG, please" for the reason of 1-1 correspondence?

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    The number of those nouns doesn't depend on the correspondence, but on the actual object that you want to name. If you are talking to a group of people who each has a book, then they possess a plurality of books. It should be Close your books They also possess a plurality of bags. It should be Close your books and put them in your bags. This is if you are talking to them as a group. The sentence that you used is talking about one book and one bag. If you want to apply it to each one of the group then you must quantify it properly: Each of you, close your book and put it in your bag. – user337391 Mar 13 at 23:28
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    @user337391 You should post this as an answer - it provides a concise explanation. Though the question is perhaps better suited to ELL. – WS2 Mar 13 at 23:38
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    PS Fadli, it's best not to use "wanna" instead of "want to" in formal writing unless it's in direct speech, and even then it should be used cautiously. – Chappo Mar 14 at 0:15
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    @user337391 There's also precedent to address instructions in the singular to a group, where "each" is implied. – Lawrence Mar 14 at 0:17
  • It needs to be made clear that this is not a matter of logic but a matter of the rules of English. People often manage to convince themselves that there is logic behind their choice, when people using another language manage to convince themselves that their version is the one supported by the logic. In this particular case, books is correct in English but livre (i.e. book) is correct in French. – David Robinson Mar 14 at 0:47

yes, at least that is what every other teacher does. if you say close your textbooks, well, students (those that actually pay attention at least) will almost ALWAYS think you are referring to them with those kinds of questions. BUT, in some cases it's fine, so it really depends on your students personalities

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