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  1. #1
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    carry a mobile phone/mobile phones

    A. What things do we need to bring when we go hiking?
    B. We need to bring a flashlight, a mobile phone and some water.
    C. We need to bring flashlights, mobile phones and some water.

    Are sentences B and C both natural ?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is online now Moderator
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    Re: carry a mobile phone/mobile phones

    Do you want each person to have his or her own flashlight and phone?
    (Places I've hiked don't have much in the way of cell reception. I'm not sure how much good they'll do.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #3
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: carry a mobile phone/mobile phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Do you want each person to have his or her own flashlight and phone?
    (Places I've hiked don't have much in the way of cell reception. I'm not sure how much good they'll do.)
    Thanks, Barb_D.

    Yes, I want each person to have his or her own flashlight and phone.

    How do we reply the following context?

    1.What things do we need to bring when we go hiking? (The teacher asked her students in a classroom?)
    2.What things do we need to bring when we go hiking? (Tom is going hiking with his father. He asked his father.)

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by Winwin2011; 10-Jun-2012 at 06:23.

  4. #4
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Re: carry a mobile phone/mobile phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    Thanks, Barb_D.

    Yes, I want each person to have his or her own flashlight and phone.

    How do we reply the following context?

    1.What things do we need to bring when we go hiking? (The teacher asked her students in a classroom?)
    2.What things do we need to bring when we go hiking? (Tom is going hiking with his father. He asked his father.)

    Thanks again.
    C. We need to bring flashlights, mobile phones and some water.

  5. #5
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: carry a mobile phone/mobile phones

    In the UK, most of us take those things with us—not bring them.

    Rover

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is online now Harmless drudge
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    Re: carry a mobile phone/mobile phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    ...
    (Places I've hiked don't have much in the way of cell reception. I'm not sure how much good they'll do.)
    But don't some mobiles have GPS, Barb? I don't know, but as long as the phone can 'see' a GPS satellite, I wouldn't have thought coverage by the cellular network was that relevant.

    b

    PS Perhpas a mobile receives GPS inormation via the sellular network though... In that case, maybe you need a satellite phone.

  7. #7
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: carry a mobile phone/mobile phones

    Right--You still need the cell tower.

    There are times with the distributed plurals when common sense helps you. We have only one head each, one life each, etc.

    In this case, using the word "each" would provide clarity.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  8. #8
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: carry a mobile phone/mobile phones

    A kid is going hiking with his father tomorrow.

    'What things do we need to bring when we go hiking, Dad?', asked the kid.

    We suppose the Kid does not have a cell phone. Only the kid's father has a cell phone and flashlight. Is it natural for the kid's father to say 'We need to bring a cell phone and flashlight'. If he says, 'We need to bring cell phones and flashlights', does it imply the kid's father would bring two phones and two flashlights or more?

    Many thanks again.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: carry a mobile phone/mobile phones

    If you're only taking one of each, the singular is more logical.

  10. #10
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    Re: carry a mobile phone/mobile phones

    It really depends on what is required for the hiking trip. If it's just a father and his son going hiking, I would expect the following exchange:

    Child: What do we need to take when we go hiking?
    Father: A cellphone, a flashlight and some water.
    Child: But I don't have a cellphone.
    Father: No, it's OK, I have one.
    Child: I do have a flashlight. Shall I bring it
    Father: Yes, it will be good to have two just in case the batteries run out in one of them.

    I think the plural sounds very unnatural when it's just two people discussing what they're going to take. I wouldn't expect them to talk about what they're taking collectively, I would expect them to refer to what each of them needs to bring, and neither one of them is going to bring more than one flashlight or more than one cellphone.

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