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38

It's certainly not standard to use phrases like "we are hypocrites" to mean "I (royalty) am a hypocrite". Quite simply, in English (as well as in French), the "honorific" type of "plural" pronouns do not automatically trigger plural reference for all other references to the person. There is really no such thing as true "agreement" of a lexical noun with ...


16

The singular word "man" is used to agree with the determiner "a." Learner's dictionary provides the following explanation for why an author might use "many" instead of "many a": The fixed expression many a/an... is more formal than the single word many, and it is much less common. Many a/an... is used mainly in literary writing and newspapers. Like ...


10

It is grammatical. John was one of several astronomers who devoted all their time to Science. "their" refers to "several astronomers" and John was just one of them. "Mary Ann is one of the girls who are going to run the marathon." "


10

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the original sentence. There would also be absolutely nothing wrong with this alternative, which is probably what the examiners wanted: John was one of the astronomers who devoted all his time to science. As FumbleFingers pointed out, this is partly because some (archaically) believe that 'he' is the only suitable ...


9

Plural, because we are, in fact, dealing with eight little backs. And a back is a back, no matter how small. A child has a back, but children have backs. I'm sure others will back me on this.


8

Nice question :-). "Do" is so useful and so used that most speakers do not notice the complexity of many of the constructs it ends up in. Sometimes they can be "unwound" by rearrangement, as here. Sometimes not. Here "Please don't anyone turn his suit heater on" is more easily understood if seen as meaning something like "Please do not turn your suit ...


6

Well, you definitely don’t want to use he, since there is no single male antecedent, nor she for similar reasons. The notation he/she is severely unappealing for a whole multitude of reasons, but beyond its ugliness, it still won’t work here because there is no single notional individual behind it all. That leaves you with they or it, either of which is ...


6

It or they. Google buys more of our servers than any other company. They have bought 4,000 servers from us.


6

A monarch who uses 'We' is asserting that they are indivisible from the state over which they govern. The plural form implies that the monarch's will is the will of all the people. The grammar should be the same as you would use when describing the state.


5

Yet another instance of the GMAT making up the rules of grammar as it goes along, without any reference to what actually happens in the language... Never mind. The idea is that those somehow stands in for the antecedent word company. It is assumed, therefore, that in order to be grammatical, it must be the same in grammatical number as the antecedent. The ...


4

I've always found it more useful to think of categories like tense, number, person, &c not as attributes of particular word-forms but as attributes of the clause, which elicit particular word-forms in various contexts. As John Lawler says, “it's still second person verb agreement because it's an imperative.” The subject of an imperative is implicitly ‘...


4

Assuming said with emphasis on she, I think "She's not my brothers" is natural enough, and it's not clear what you'd say instead. Possibly it just sounds slightly awkward because there aren't so many contexts where it is pragmatically valid to talk about the equation or non-equation of one person to two people. But grammatically, the sentence is just ...


4

Assuming you're specifically interested in talking about television, (as opposed to whether one uses plural or singular nouns after "two kinds of" in general), it depends on context. "Two kinds of televisions" would refer to different kinds of television sets, as in "We have two kinds of televisions: color and black-and-white." "Two kinds of television" ...


4

Switching the example to illustrate: The suspect, just like his two younger siblings, became a notorious gangster. Here, it is more obvious that the complement should be singular like the subject, and that the parenthesis, which gives additional information rather than changing the subject, shouldn't affect concord. The suspect and his two younger ...


4

Use one's to be consistent. There is nothing like an animal attack video to remind one of one's mortality. Carl Mason Franklin, To Carolyn with love, 1998, p.284: In telling the Trustees of my affection for WSU, I made the point that one should never forget one's roots.


4

You can use "it". It was a wolf that killed him. It was wolves that killed him. both of these work, to give you an example.


4

The subject "thing" is singular, and so "is" is correct. It is grammatical. The number of the predicate is not relevant. For example: Our team is 20 players. (in American English) The problem is Tom, Dick, and Harry.


4

You are indeed correct. Formally, "data" is a collective noun, being the plural form of the Latin "datum". Thus, a grammarian would prefer "These data are...". In popular usage, the word's Latin origins are being forgotten, and it is far more common these days for English speakers to treat "data" as a singular noun. For most users, "This data is..." would ...


3

Google Ngram has no hits for those box of tissues, but it does have hits for that box of tissues. While this is not definitive, it suggests that this is a personal ideosyncracy of your wife's.


3

The whole issue has been debated here before; I am only posting an answer because Bossinique's answer is unsubstantiated and very misleading, and Carolyn's unsubstantiated and somewhat misleading. In the Types of things vs. types of thing thread (Types of things vs. types of thing), there is a more reasoned discussion than the above; the bottom line (in ...


3

It's Paula Poundstone seems to me to simply be the answer to an (unspoken but presupposed) question Q: Who is it? A: It's Paula. A question like Who is this person? is taken as a given in any formal introduction. And this is the introduction of a number of speakers on stage before a performance. There are special conventions for this context, as ...


3

"She'll be performing Friday at the Comedy Club, it's Paula Poundstone." In your context, the expression "it's Paula Poundstone" can be considered to be a truncated it-cleft. This usage is acceptable and has been for a long time. It is part of today's standard English. The it-cleft's relative clause has been omitted, because its info is redundant and ...


3

I've always understood this as indicating the state/situation of that person being present. "She's Paula Pountstone" means "That person(she) is Paula Poundstone." "It's Paula Poundstone." means "The situation(it) is that Paula Poundstone is here."


3

Story of Mark can only mean the (one and only, whole) of Mark's story. Naturally, the definite article goes with it. D - I want to tell you the story of Mark. On the other hand, Story about Mark could be one of many such, (though not necessarily). Accordingly, one could construe of it as a story. A - I want to tell you a story about Mark. The ...


3

The semantic, grammatical, and logical arguments clearly suggest it's 'correct' to use the plural, and that's what most people do. However, despite the fact that I doubt if any style guide endorses the singular, it seems that about 10% of usages for back persist in using the singular. For reasons which escape me, that 'incorrect' minority rises to nearly ...


3

She's not my brothers. is grammatically correct if you put quotes around 'my brothers', as I have just done. This allows 'my brothers' to be treated as a singular object even though there are more than one 'brother'. "She is not 'my brothers'." You run into the same awkwardness when explaining that you are looking for your scissors but have only found ...


3

It is definitely ungrammatical to say "*The management has never and will never closed the door to negotiations." The auxiliary "will" cannot be followed by a past participle; it has to be followed by an infinitive. It is grammatical to use both forms explicitly, as in "has never closed and will never close." A Google Books search reveals that people do ...


3

The 'rule' is that you go left until you find the first antecedent that works. In your example that would be stars. This is not particularly intuitive. The type of pronoun limits its antecedents. A personal pronoun, for example, must refer to a person, so in a sentence like "Mary went to the shop she had noticed the day before", 'she' cannot refer to the ...


3

I'm astonished to see that as I write, the only response is 4 users (one commenter and 3 upvoters) claiming our listeners is singular, and another comment effectively endorsing the singular usage by converting the noun phrase to a group/collection of our listeners. I can only assume this sort of nonsense somehow arises from the AmE tendency to treat ...


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