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I have a question about whether or not to use the plural for a noun in the following sentence:

  • Men, woman, and horses grew smaller as they moved on.

Since there was only one woman in the group, I think it is neither necessary nor correct to match the plural nouns with "women". Am I right?

I appreciate any assistance you can provide.

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    An alternative might be to use Humans/People and horses..."
    – DjinTonic
    Jun 20, 2023 at 7:52
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    Though arguably not ungrammatical, it sounds quirky as is. 'All of them, humans and horses, ...' or 'The men, the woman, and the horses ...' makes it less so. Jun 20, 2023 at 10:42

2 Answers 2

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Since you're talking about a specific group, you should use a definite article.

The men, woman, and horses grew smaller as they moved on.

This allows you to mix singular and plural nouns to match the actual number of men, women, and horses. The verb should be in the plural form since there are multiple subjects (although past tense doesn't distinguish number).

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Men, woman, and horses grew smaller as they moved on.

If it was "Men, a woman, and horses" or "Men, the woman, and horses" then your version would be correct. The sentence really only makes sense as it is when you use women, the plural of woman.

"Men, women, and horses"

If there is only one you need to indicate that with a or the.

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    I disagree. If there's only one woman, it's perfectly okay to use the singular without an article. Including the before woman strikes me as being at least "stylistically weak" unless the same is done with men, but including the indefinite article before woman seems hopelessly non-idiomatic to me regardless of the full context. Jun 20, 2023 at 14:51
  • Or th, ...ere is a misprint, and it should be "men, women ... .
    – Tuffy
    Jun 20, 2023 at 18:35

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