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  1. spaceduck
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    #1

    Smile Is it grammatically correct to use plural form of temporal noun after next/last?

    Hey guys,

    I'm trying to solve a long standing argument between me and a friend. Is it ever okay to use plural form of a temporal noun after next/last (ie. next years, the next decades)? My intuition is that it's not common for colloquial English, but it's probably correct grammatically speaking. Could anyone confirm my suspicion?

    For instance, is it grammatically correct to say "I'm expecting it to happen in the next decades?" or "Whether human beings will eventually colonize Mars will largely depend on what is going to unfold in the next decades?" (Please correct those two sentences for me if they're wrong. I really need to know how to say them correctly).


    I'm not quite sure if it's a slang or not, but I've heard or read in articles about the phrase "in the next decades" quite often. However, I've always assumed the author or speaker made a mistake since to my knowledge, it's not okay to use plural form of a temporal noun immediately after "next" or "last" without a quantifiable modifier.

    I'd really appreciate if you would offer some insight on this matter. Thanks for bearing with me!

    - Antoinne


    • Join Date: Nov 2009
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    #2

    Re: Is it grammatically correct to use plural form of temporal noun after next/last?

    Hi!

    I would say "in the following years/decades".


    • Join Date: Dec 2009
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    #3

    Smile Re: Is it grammatically correct to use plural form of temporal noun after next/last?

    Well, if it were up to me, I'd probably go with "in the next few decades" in order to avoid any potential ambiguity.

    However, as I mentioned before, the purpose of this post is to settle a long-standing argument and a bet. So I definitely need to know whether or not "in the next decades" is grammatically correct or commonly acceptable (a slang or used in colloquial English).

    Any taker?


    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 2
    #4

    Re: Is it grammatically correct to use plural form of temporal noun after next/last?

    Argh, would any of you native speaker out there care to pitch in and give me your 2 cents' worth?

    I'm dying to know the answer.. It's really one of those things that's been bugging me for ages.

    Thanks in advance


    • Join Date: Nov 2009
    • Posts: 143
    #5

    Re: Is it grammatically correct to use plural form of temporal noun after next/last?

    Quote Originally Posted by spaceduck View Post
    Argh, would any of you native speaker out there care to pitch in and give me your 2 cents' worth?

    I'm dying to know the answer.. It's really one of those things that's been bugging me for ages.

    Thanks in advance
    Hi!

    In the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (1987 edition), I've found under the entry 'next': 2 immediately following in time; the one after the one mentioned or after the present: Where will you be during the next few weeks?

    Isn't it a some sort of prove?

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Is it grammatically correct to use plural form of temporal noun after next/last?

    You want a straight up-and-down answer on whether it is correct, not whether it's common or natural right?

    Tell me what you think of this: Thanks to the excellent care at the hospice center, his last days were peaceful and happy ones.

    I think that sounds okay.

    I think we agree that "The next week will be the hardest" is okay and "The next few weeks will be the hardest" is okay. So "The next weeks will be the hardest ones" -- is that okay? I can't find anything grammatically wrong with it. Logically, we want to say "how many?" but does it make it wrong to omit that? I don't think it does. Doesn't sound great, but strictly speaking? Grammatical.
    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.

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    #7

    Re: Is it grammatically correct to use plural form of temporal noun after next/last?

    If we remove all examples where "Next Decades" is a name for something.... to me it sounds non-standard. Even changing that to ".... in the next seconds" or ".... in the next hours". They all want to collocate with "next few..."

    I'm not a grammar expert.

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    #8

    Re: Is it grammatically correct to use plural form of temporal noun after next/last?

    (Not a teacher)

    From Collins Cobuild English Usage, I have found the following examples under the definition of "Next". Now I quote them to here for your reference:
    "You use the next to refer to any period of time measured forward from the present. For example, if it is July 2nd and you want to say that something will happen between now and July 23rd, you say that it will happen in the next three weeks or during the next three weeks.
    Mr John MacGregor will make the announcement in the next two weeks.
    More than 2,000 of the country's 8,000 state-owned companies are expected to go out of business during the next six months." Needless to say, as such, it also applies to "the last few decades"
    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by albertino; 18-Dec-2009 at 10:05.

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