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Thread: in the balance

  1. Senior Member
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    in the balance

    Centuries of history hang in the balance, a question mark hangs over the future of our United Kingdom. If people vote “yes” in September, then Scotland will become an independent country.

    Q1:Does "hang in the balance" here mean "at stake"?

    Q2: Why does the verb "hang" agree with "centuries" instead of "history"? Can I say " Centuries of history hangs in the balance."



  2. Roman55's Avatar
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    Re: in the balance

    I am not a teacher.

    1. 'Hang in the balance' is metaphoric. The image is one of a pair of scales, and to hang in the balance means that the outcome (in this case of the referendum) is uncertain, or at least, it was.

    2. It's not history that hangs in the balance, it's the centuries of history that hang in the balance. It must take the plural. Centuries of history are hanging in the balance.

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