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    • Join Date: Apr 2004
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    #1

    Worker / Workers

    What do these mean?
    1. They are my workers.
    2. They are my worker.

    3. They are my buddies.
    4. They are my buddy.

    Thanks.

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: Worker / Workers

    2. and 4. are ungrammatical. Do you know why, though, jack?

    By the way, the question "What do they mean?" doesn't really express the grammatical point you're asking us to explain, so why not change it to something like,

    Are these acceptable, and if not, could you explain why?


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    #3

    Re: Worker / Workers

    2. and 4. are ungrammatical. Do you know why, though, jack?
    Is it because #2 and #4 mean that everybody you know is one guy? I hear that sometimes or maybe I didn't hear the -s.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: Worker / Workers

    Quote Originally Posted by jack
    Is it because #2 and #4 mean that everybody you know is one guy? I hear that sometimes or maybe I didn't hear the -s.
    Well, that's a valid possibility, jack. If you speak a tone language, like Chinese, or a pitch accent language, like Japanese, final fricatives (-s) are often passed up for the more "juicy" bits, like intonantion. So, not picking up on final -s could account for why you've heard 2. and 4.:

    2. *They are my worker.
    4. *They are my buddy.

    Both sentences are ungrammatical. The subject complement does not agree in number with the subject. These are linking, or copular structures, jack, so both words straddling the linking verb should agree in number:

    1. They are my workers. (plural pronoun = plural noun)
    3. They are my buddies. (plural pronoun = plural noun)

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