Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    ripley is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    589
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default plural form of "he is an only child"

    Hi,
    How can I say the plural of

    "He is an only child"

    They are only children ??????

  2. #2
    riquecohen's Avatar
    riquecohen is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    5,719
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: plural form of "he is an only child"

    [QUOTE=ripley;753482]Hi,
    How can I say the plural of

    "He is an only child" This means that his parents have only one child.

    They are only children ?????? This means that they are merely children.[/QUOTE]
    The two sentences you have presented have entirely different meanings. In the second, do you mean to say that their parents have no other children?

  3. #3
    ripley is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    589
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: plural form of "he is an only child"

    I mean that "they" (for example two boys) have no brothers or sisters; they are both in the same situation; each of them could say that he is an only child.

  4. #4
    riquecohen's Avatar
    riquecohen is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    5,719
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: plural form of "he is an only child"

    Quote Originally Posted by ripley View Post
    I mean that "they" (for example two boys) have no brothers or sisters; they are both in the same situation; each of them could say that he is an only child.
    Aha! Now I've got it. To avoid any ambiguity you'd have to say that "each one (of them) is an only child."

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,580
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: plural form of "he is an only child"

    If we know that they are from different families, they are only children could work me in the right context.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,167
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: plural form of "he is an only child"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    If we know that they are from different families, they are only children could work me in the right context.
    I can conceive of it just about working, but I think riquecohen's suggested version is clearer, and, I suspect, more likely.

  7. #7
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,864
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: plural form of "he is an only child"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    If we know that they are from different families, they are only children could work me in the right context.
    Would you consider the last line in this essay the right context.
    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/ed...st-friend.html

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,167
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: plural form of "he is an only child"

    I would have interpreted that as you did - 'just children'

  9. #9
    ripley is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    589
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: plural form of "he is an only child"

    I trust your opinion and I know that in my context it was ambiguous; I was just trying to understand if the plural form doesn't exist at all; what about "single-children" as an alternative? Does it work?
    Bye
    Rip

  10. #10
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,864
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: plural form of "he is an only child"

    Quote Originally Posted by ripley View Post
    I trust your opinion and I know that in my context it was ambiguous; I was just trying to understand if the plural form doesn't exist at all; what about "single-children" as an alternative? Does it work?
    Bye
    Rip
    Nope. "We are both single children" means that neither of you is married.

Similar Threads

  1. proper use of the plural form of "money"
    By msakamoto in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-May-2009, 12:56
  2. [Grammar] How to use "previous" in plural form?
    By SunMoon in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 19-Sep-2008, 13:19
  3. using the word "informations" in plural form
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-Dec-2007, 12:03
  4. Singular or plural form of "to be"
    By Nordic Bill in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 17-Aug-2005, 22:34
  5. Plural form of the word "future" as a noun
    By Help in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-May-2005, 11:55

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •