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  1. inaliel_618@yahoo.com
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    #1

    Use of "respective"

    Should the word "respective" be followed by a singular or plural noun?

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Use of "respective"

    Either.
    Each child took his or her respective mother by the hand... (one mother per child)

    The mothers gathered their respective children around them... (some mothers may have more than one child)

  3. RonBee's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Use of "respective"

    I say it should be followed by a plural noun, and I am 99% sure of that.

    ~R

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Use of "respective"

    Hi Ron,
    I'm happy to admit I'm wrong, but does the first example sound wrong? I'm not being insistent - I'm just trying to learn something too!


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    #5

    Re: Use of "respective"

    Doesn't the word itself require the plural? For the subject, I mean. Doesn't it mean that parts of a group are being considered individually? You wouldn't say, "I took my respective project off the table and went home." On the other hand, your "each child" sentence sounds okay to me. Hmmmm.

    [oh yes - I am not a teacher, but am a native speaker. Guess that's obvious :)]

  5. RonBee's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Use of "respective"

    First of all, there were no replies when I first saw this question. (I didn't purposely contradict you, Barb_D, I just took my time answering the question.)

    Secondly, I don't see how "respective" could apply to the first sentence as each child only has one mother. (I wouldn't use the word in either sentence.)

    Thirdly, I really should be in bed now. (Maybe I'll take more time on this later.)


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