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Thread: PLURAL/SINGULAR

  1. #1
    Innocent Fairy's Avatar
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    Question PLURAL/SINGULAR

    1. One and a half hours are allowed for the exam.
    2. An hour and a half is allowed for the exam.

      The above two examples have been taken out from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

    My question is that why those two sentences read differently when it comes to verb being singular or plural. Please explain. I can't really understand the double standard in the examples. The same verb with the same idea but in two different forms. Why?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: PLURAL/SINGULAR

    Quote Originally Posted by Innocent Fairy View Post
    1. One and a half hours are allowed for the exam.
    2. An hour and a half is allowed for the exam.

      The above two examples have been taken out from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

    My question is that why those two sentences read differently when it comes to verb being singular or plural. Please explain. I can't really understand the double standard in the examples. The same verb with the same idea but in two different forms. Why?

    An hour and a half = a recognised name for one period of time lasting 90 minutes, so that one period is treated as the singular.

    I can't actually give you a logical explanation as to why this is though, unfortunately, but in BrE at least, that's just how it is.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: PLURAL/SINGULAR

    Not a teacher.
    Your first sentence is justified by.
    http://www.englishclub.com/tefl/viewtopic.php?t=1584

    Second sentence is justified by the following rule.
    Quantities or measurements of time, money, distance, weight usually take singular verbs.

    http://isu.indstate.edu/writing/esl/.../SETVI3AP.html
    Last edited by aachu; 14-Jul-2011 at 00:45.

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    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: PLURAL/SINGULAR

    Quote Originally Posted by Innocent Fairy View Post
    1. One and a half hours are allowed for the exam.
    2. An hour and a half is allowed for the exam.


      The above two examples have been taken out from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
    My question is that why those two sentences read differently when it comes to verb being singular or plural. Please explain. I can't really understand the double standard in the examples. The same verb with the same idea but in two different forms. Why?
    Use a plural verb for more than one unit e.g. One and a half hours are...
    EXCEPT when a determiner, e.g. an, is used for one unit or one unit plus a fraction thereof.

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