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  1. #1
    Snappy is offline Member
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    Default Distributive plural/singular

    Are these sentences acceptable?


    1. This machine is used to measure the thickness of steel plates.
    2. This machine is used to measure the thicknesses of steel plates.


    If I want to say that this machine is used to measure the thickness of each steel plate one by one and not the thickness of a number of steel plates together, which one of the above is suitable?


    Similarly, can I say if a machine is used to measure the brightness of each lamp, one by one?

    3. This machine is used to measure the brightness of lamps.

  2. #2
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    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Distributive plural/singular

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    Are these sentences acceptable?


    1. This machine is used to measure the thickness of steel plates.
    2. This machine is used to measure the thicknesses of steel plates.


    If I want to say that this machine is used to measure the thickness of each steel plate one by one and not the thickness of a number of steel plates together, which one of the above is suitable?


    Similarly, can I say if a machine is used to measure the brightness of each lamp, one by one?

    3. This machine is used to measure the brightness of lamps.
    They are all acceptable, I would choose 1) over 2).

  3. #3
    Snappy is offline Member
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    Default Re: Distributive plural/singular

    A similar question hit upon me.
    Usually each household appliance has its service life. Which of the following sentences is natural? Either will do?
    1. We don't know the remaining service life of these household appliances.
    2. We don't know the remaining service lives of these household appliances.

  4. #4
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Distributive plural/singular

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    A similar question hit upon me.
    Usually each household appliance has its service life. Which of the following sentences is natural? Either will do?
    1. We don't know the remaining service life of these household appliances.
    2. We don't know the remaining service lives of these household appliances.
    I would choose 1.

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