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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    You can know the age of a tree by counting its rings.

    What do you think is the difference between 1 and 2 in terms of "a tree" and "trees"? Does "a tree" denote "an unspecific tree" or "general trees, generalization"? It sounds either way, ambiguous.

    1. You can know the age of a tree by counting its rings. This is because each ring shows one year of wood growth...
    2. You can know the age of trees by counting their rings.

  2. Key Member
    Interested in Language
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    #2

    Re: You can know the age of a tree by counting its rings.

    Both are general statements. They mean the same thing.
    A general statement can be singular or plural.

    not a teacher

  3. probus's Avatar
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    Retired English Teacher
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    #3

    Re: You can know the age of a tree by counting its rings.

    I don't see any difference. In 1, a tree implies any tree. In 2, trees implies all trees. So logically they are equivalent. My preference is 1, but I wouldn't criticize someone who used 2.

    BTW determine would be better than know in both cases.

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