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    #1

    their nose or noses?

    What is better?
    Itís not their business. They should not stick their nose(s) into (to) everything.
    Thank you

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    #2

    Re: their nose or noses?

    Quote Originally Posted by ndexter View Post
    What is better?
    Itís not their business. They should not stick their nose(s) into (to) everything.
    Thank you
    If you say "their nose", it suggests that the group of people all share one nose!!

    It's none of their business. They shouldn't stick their noses into everything.


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    #3

    Re: their nose or noses?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    If you say "their nose", it suggests that the group of people all share one nose!!

    It's none of their business. They shouldn't stick their noses into everything.
    Logic in Grammar not always works.
    For example, you can say "their nose" in Russian. And that doesn't suggest that group of people share one nose. More than that: you cannot say "their noses" in Russian. It would be poor Russian.
    I searched the Internet and realized that people speak the same way in English (not always, but it happens very often).
    For example:
    Why do tennis players hold their hand up when they hit a net cord point and win the point?
    It doesn't suggest that all tennis players share one hand. Does it?
    Thank you.


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    #4

    Re: their nose or noses?

    Quote Originally Posted by ndexter View Post
    Logic in Grammar not always works.
    For example, you can say "their nose" in Russian. And that doesn't suggest that group of people share one nose. More than that: you cannot say "their noses" in Russian. It would be poor Russian.
    I searched the Internet and realized that people speak the same way in English (not always, but it happens very often).
    For example:
    Why do tennis players hold their hand up when they hit a net cord point and win the point?
    It doesn't suggest that all tennis players share one hand. Does it?
    Thank you.
    One more example:
    Matthew 15:8 NKJV. These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.

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    #5

    Re: their nose or noses?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    If you say "their nose", it suggests that the group of people all share one nose!!

    It's none of their business. They shouldn't stick their noses into everything.
    Why can't "not" be used here ?(instead of "none of").
    Thank you very much !

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    #6

    Re: their nose or noses?

    Quote Originally Posted by ndexter View Post
    One more example:
    Matthew 15:8 NKJV. These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
    I think the problem is "nose", "hand", "mouth", "lip" , "heart" can be changed to plurals or not depending on whether they are concrete (specific, definite in a concrete context) or not (abstract, hypothetical).
    1. "...stick their noses into..." means that they all interfere into ..., it is not hypothetical (some things are hypothetical such as introductions...), so we use "noses" here.
    2. I think all "mouth", "heart" in your sentences should be "mouths", "hearts" (their hearts are ...).
    3. About "hand", I think the sentence (in your last post) is a question about tennis, "their hand" is abstract , hypothetical (there aren't some people with their hands lifted at the same time), so using "hand" here is correct to me.
    That's my own thoughts.
    Thank you very much !
    Last edited by crazYgeeK; 03-Aug-2010 at 04:15.

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    #7

    Re: their nose or noses?

    I have a context:
    T: Today I want to talk about elephants. You do know that their nose (if using "noses" here, I'm afraid that an elephant has two noses at least) can move and is very strong to wrench leaves, branches for meal.

    Hope some teachers help us !
    Thank you very much !

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    #8

    Re: their nose or noses?

    Quote Originally Posted by crazYgeeK View Post
    Why can't "not" be used here ?(instead of "none of").
    Thank you very much !
    It's just one of those common phrases - "It's none of your business", "Can I ask you a question about your boyfriend? It's none of my business but I'm really curious!"


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    #9

    Re: their nose or noses?

    Quote Originally Posted by ndexter View Post
    One more example:
    Matthew 15:8 NKJV. These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
    It is still unclear for me when we have to use "heart", "hand", "nose" and when, "hearts", "hands", "noses".
    Please help.

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    #10

    Re: their nose or noses?

    Quote Originally Posted by ndexter View Post
    It is still unclear for me when we have to use "heart", "hand", "nose" and when, "hearts", "hands", "noses".
    Please help.
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello, Ndexter.

    (1) I have bad news: there is no one rule that you can use for every

    sentence.

    (2) If there were a rule, it might say this:

    Say what most native speakers say. And if you want to know what

    most native speakers say, you must read, read, read; you must listen

    very carefully when watching English-language films and TV.

    (3) Here are a few things that I have learned and wish to share:

    (a) English speakers generally prefer the plural.

    (b) In many other languages, speakers prefer the singular.

    (c) This construction (kind of sentence) is called the distributive

    plural. When you get time, google it. You will find many articles that

    will keep you busy for weeks or months!!!

    (d) Mr. Michael Swan's book says:

    Plural forms are almost always used in this case with possessives:

    Tell the children to blow their noses. (Mr. Swan says that nose is not

    correct.)

    Six people had lost their lives in the accident.

    (e) Mr. L.G. Alexander's book says:

    Sometimes the reference is clearly singular or plural:

    Most of us have experienced sorrow in our lives.

    (f) Professor Quirk emphasizes three points:

    (i) Sometimes either the singular/plural is correct:

    The exercise was not good for their back(s).
    The students raise their hand(s).
    Pronouns agree with their antecedent(s).
    Their noses need to be wiped/ their nose needs to be wiped.
    All the children have their own bicycle(s) . [With this last example, the

    professor says that the plural is "preferred."]

    (ii) Sometimes the meaning is definitely singular:

    The teacher asked the students to name their favorite sport. (Each

    student was asked to name his/her one favorite sport.)

    All good teachers study their subject carefully. (Each teacher studies

    his/her one subject carefully.)

    (iii) This last point is very difficult. The professor says that native

    speakers feel more comfortable using the singular with idioms:

    We are keeping an open mind. (idiom to keep an open mind. = to listen

    to all opinions before making a decision.)

    They cannot put their finger on it. (idiom put one's finger on something =

    to explain something exactly.)

    (g) There are a few people who have suggested an interesting

    idea: Use the singular if you are picturing in your mind some people

    doing something at different times; use the plural if you are picturing them

    doing something at the same time.

    (i) Your first sentence is They should not stick their nose(s) into

    everything. What do you picture in your mind? Do you picture them all

    doing that at the same time? If so, then I guess that noses is "correct"

    -- if you accept that "picture" idea. But if you picture them doing it

    at different times, then nose would be "correct."

    (ii) Your second sentence is These people draw near to me with their mouth,

    And honor me with their lips [here it is necessary to say lips because

    we all have two lips], But their heart is far from me. The use of mouth

    and heart seems to be correct if you accept the "picture" idea. That is,

    Jesus is talking about people doing that at different times and on different

    days.

    Thank you

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