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    #1

    Smile No Guarantees or No Guarantee ?

    Wives are free to urge their spouses to listen and express their feelings, but we can offer no guarantees that you will achieve meaningful results.
    Dear teachers:

    I've seen this structure many a time. It's suddenly occured to me today that the use of a plural noun seems wrong here. The writer wanted to tell buyers that not a single promise could be made as to whether wives would get what they wanted. Then, why there's the plural form of guarantee? Given this is from a native speaker, there must be something that can be expanded.

    Thanks for your help.

    Richard

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: No Guarantees or No Guarantee ?

    Quote Originally Posted by cubezero3 View Post
    Dear teachers:

    I've seen this structure many a time. It's suddenly occured to me today that the use of a plural noun seems wrong here. The writer wanted to tell buyers that not a single promise could be made as to whether wives would get what they wanted. Then, why there's the plural form of guarantee? Given this is from a native speaker, there must be something that can be expanded.

    Thanks for your help.

    Richard
    I think you've partly hit on the answer. ("not a single promise" = no promises). A guarantee could be thought of as a contract that covers many promises. On the other hand, each promise could be called a guarantee.

    In other words, a "guarantee" (the contract) can contain several "guarantees" (promises). You can use either.
    Last edited by Raymott; 21-Apr-2010 at 10:56.

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    #3

    Re: No Guarantees or No Guarantee ?

    Thank you, Raymott. Your answer is of great help to me.

    May I take it as either No Guarantee or No Guarantee would be considered as right in this sentence?

    Furthermore, I guess this formula isn't universal. And the first of the following sentences would be the only corrent one:

    There will be no book left when I leave this room.

    There will be no books left when I leave this room.

    Am I right in thinking so?

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    #4

    Re: No Guarantees or No Guarantee ?

    Quote Originally Posted by cubezero3 View Post
    Thank you, Raymott. Your answer is of great help to me.

    May I take it as either No Guarantee or No Guarantees would be considered as right in this sentence?
    Yes.

    Furthermore, I guess this formula isn't universal.
    No, but it could also apply to some other words. eg. "We have no result/results yet" - where the overall result is a combination of several lesser results. You could use either.

    And the first of the following sentences would be the only corrent one:

    There will be no book left when I leave this room.

    There will be no books left when I leave this room.

    Am I right in thinking so?
    No, they are both correct sentences, but for a different reason.
    This is something I didn't consider in my previous response - which is still correct as far as it goes.
    In reality, no book = no books. Grammatically, they are different, but if you have no book, you have no books.

    You can't always choose between singular or plural though - there are situations in which only one is appropriate.
    The jury has reached no verdict yet. Right (in situations where the jury is only considering one verdict)
    * The jury has reached no verdicts yet.
    Generally wrong.

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    #5

    Re: No Guarantees or No Guarantee ?

    I see. I don't have to worry about the choice of singular or plural as long as it doesn't matter.

    I've come thought of it in this way before. But I don't have the heart to come to the conclusion. Now, I have your words.

    Cheers.

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