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Thread: confusing

  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default confusing

    A How many people can say that their letter was quoted on air.
    B How many people can say that their letters were quoted on air.

    "their letters" in B means???

    1. one person/one letter
    2. one person/many letters
    3. can be both

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    Both. We'd use A to make the distinction if the number was important. To show many letters, we could add 'all' to make that clear.

  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: confusing

    Quote Originally Posted by jeab
    A How many people can say that their letter was quoted on air.
    B How many people can say that their letters were quoted on air.

    "their letters" in B means???

    1. one person/one letter
    2. one person/many letters
    3. can be both
    I agree with TDOL. Because the subject is plural, we use the pronoun "their". That leads to a tendency to pluralize letters. If one wanted to emphasize a single letter, one could use the singular. I would then change "their" to his/her, but many would not. +

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