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    #1

    plural and singular agreement - polls

    I'd like you all to put your hands on your ____.

    head or heads

    What is be the preferable one? Does the number of people really have to comply with the number of things?

    In my opinion, it doesn't really matter, but I am not sure.


    Thank you in advance

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: plural and singular agreement - polls

    You will hear both but only "head" makes sense. Using "heads" suggests that each person is required to put his/her hands on his/her heads!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: plural and singular agreement - polls

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    You will hear both but only "head" makes sense. Using "heads" suggests that each person is required to put his/her hands on his/her heads!
    I understand your logic, but feel that the illogical 'heads' is more common -

    The men took their hats off as they entered the building.
    The teacher told the children to open their books
    . (distributive use, Swan, Michael (2005), Practical English Usage (3rd edn), Oxford: OUP)
    John and Lindsay scratched their noses and looked distinctly uncomfortable.

    Note the difference between:

    Emma and Luke introduced their fathers to the Headmaster. (Two offspring, two fathers)
    Emma and Luke introduced their father to the Headmaster. (Brother and sister, one father).

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