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  1. #1
    Shamsiyan is offline Member
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    Default The pattern "whole + plural noun"

    Look at the following sentence:

    After the storm, whole towns were left without electricity.

    Could we conclude from the sentence that "All towns were left without electricity." or that "Some towns were completely affected."
    Last edited by Shamsiyan; 20-Sep-2012 at 14:59.

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: The pattern "whole + plural noun"

    The latter. Some towns were completely blacked out.

  3. #3
    tzfujimino's Avatar
    tzfujimino is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: The pattern "whole + plural noun"

    Hello.
    Does the word 'whole' in the above sentence mean #2 here?
    It is indeed confusing.

  4. #4
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    charliedeut is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: The pattern "whole + plural noun"

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Hello.
    Does the word 'whole' in the above sentence mean #2 here?
    Hi,

    IMO, it means #1 in your link (=all of the town; all the buildings).

    charliedeut
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  5. #5
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: The pattern "whole + plural noun"

    It's 1 and 2. If there's a town, then all of it was blacked out. The whole town. Not part of it, like those homes west of Main Street had power and those east of it did not.

    By emphasizing "whole towns" being blacked out it means that the outages were not small and isolated in nature. It wasn't just certain streets or neighborhoods. It was entire towns who lost power.

  6. #6
    tzfujimino's Avatar
    tzfujimino is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: The pattern "whole + plural noun"

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedeut View Post
    Hi,

    IMO, it means #1 in your link (=all of the town; all the buildings).

    charliedeut
    Thanks, charlie.

    Well, if it were "the whole town was left without...," I would interpret 'the whole town' as 'all the buildings and houses in the town'.
    Hmm...
    I'm not used to this 'whole + a plural noun' construction.
    Last edited by tzfujimino; 19-Sep-2012 at 16:58.

  7. #7
    tzfujimino's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pattern "whole + plural noun"

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    It's 1 and 2. If there's a town, then all of it was blacked out. The whole town. Not part of it, like those homes west of Main Street had power and those east of it did not.

    By emphasizing "whole towns" being blacked out it means that the outages were not small and isolated in nature. It wasn't just certain streets or neighborhoods. It was entire towns who lost power.
    Thank you, SoothingDave.

    Then, why is "whole towns were left without electricity." interpreted as "some towns were completely..."?
    Does it not mean "all (the)/the entire towns were completely..."?

  8. #8
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: The pattern "whole + plural noun"

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Thank you, SoothingDave.

    Then, why is "whole towns were left without electricity." interpreted as "some towns were completely..."?
    Does it not mean "all (the)/the entire towns were completely..."?

    If it was all the towns, then it would say that. Or say that the entire region, state, nation, etc.

    Otherwise, saying "whole towns were" implies logically that other towns were not.

    The entire portion of some towns were blacked out. Whole towns.

  9. #9
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: The pattern "whole + plural noun"


    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Thank you, SoothingDave.

    Then, why is "whole towns were left without electricity." interpreted as "some towns were completely..."?
    Does it not mean "all (the)/the entire towns were completely..."?
    You're extrapolating from the 'the whole/all of' equivalence in expressions like 'the whole world'. But this usage is different in two ways: the noun in that case is singular, and it has a definite article 'the...world'. So these two mean very different things:

    the whole town - all of that one (specified)
    whole towns - an unspecified number of towns, but completely in each case

    b

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