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    #1

    Conflict with Singular and Plural words in sentence

    Dear community


    I'm currently working on a technical paper that includes the following two sentences:


    1) "Concerning the communication, there is basically just a certain number of registers that are exchanged, however, the individual registers are assigned different purposes."


    2) "If a read command is desired, the command bits of the control register and the F bit are set."

    I'm a bit confused about the bold words in the sentences above. Concerning the first sentence, i think "is" is the right choice, since it refers to "number", which is in its singular form. Regarding the second word "are", I'm not completely sure whether this should be "is", too, since it might be referred to number? But on the other hand, it are the registers that are actually exchanged, so "are" would be correct?

    Concerning the second sentence, I'm not sure whether "are" is correct. The "and" in the sentence works as conjunction and thus somehow represents multiple items, so i think this should be correct?


    It would be very nice if you could help me with this one and maybe provide some grammatical background information, since I do not know how to formulate the problems I have stated above in grammatical terms. At this point I have to say that I rather write according to my insting.
    Last edited by matador1289; 31-Jul-2015 at 12:26.

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    #2

    Re: Conflict with Singular and Plural words in sentence

    Welcome to the forum, matador.

    Do you mean 'Dear community'?

    What is the subject of the 'technical piece of paper' you are working on?

    You might have to wait a while for somebody to recognise the technical terms you have included in your post.

  1. teechar's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Conflict with Singular and Plural words in sentence

    Both of your sentences are correct.
    However, the first is a bit wordy. Consider rewriting it as:

    "Concerning the communication, a certain number of registers are exchanged, but the individual registers are assigned different purposes."

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    #4

    Re: Conflict with Singular and Plural words in sentence

    Thanks for your answers.

    @Rover_KE
    Of course, I meant "Dear", must have been an unfortunate typo.
    The subject of the technical paper is embedded systems, it deals with software, written for microcontrollers.

    @teechar
    Thanks for your suggestion. I definitely consider rewriting the sentence.


    If I wanted to bring my grammar on this specific matter up to date, what would I have to google for?

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    #5

    Re: Conflict with Singular and Plural words in sentence

    Matador1289, this isn't Twitter. There is no reason to preface people's usernames with the "@" sign or to treat it as the top line of a paragraph. Just write the username, a comma and then what you want to say to them. For example,

    "Teechar, thanks for your suggestion."
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: Conflict with Singular and Plural words in sentence

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Matador:

    May I join the fascinating discussion?

    For the sake of analysis, let's simplify your sentence to:

    "There ___ just a certain number of registers that are exchanged."

    1. I am 99.99% sure that "are" after "that" is correct, for "that" refers to the word "registers."
    .

    2. Here is a rule that I believe is accepted by all usage ("good English") guides:

    a. A number of = some = plural verb. ("A number of persons are rude.")

    b. The number of = singular verb. ("The number of rude persons is three.")

    3. NOW HERE IS THE PROBLEM: Does the rule still apply if there is an adjective (such as "certain," "large," etc.)?

    a. I am 85% confident that it does. Here are just a few of the examples that I found in the "books" section of Google.

    i. "One shipper has a thousand barrels and a certain number are opened."

    ii. "A certain number are at present in asylums."

    iii. "A certain number are settled in relatively temperate regions."

    *****

    4. Now let's further simplify your sentence to: "There ___ just a certain number of registers."

    a. When you analyze a sentence that starts with "there," books tell us to ignore the "there."

    b. Thus, we must analyze "____ just a certain number of registers."

    c. Next, rearrange those words in the usual order (subject + verb): "Just [only] a certain number of registers are." [Remember: "A large / certain number of" seems to take a plural verb just as "a number of" does.

    d. Now return to the original sentence, and you get "There are just a certain number of registers that are exchanged." [Compare: "There are some registers that are exchanged."]


    P.S. For some reason, if you use a contraction, then "is" is acceptable in ordinary conversation: "There's just a certain number of registers that are exchanged."
    Last edited by TheParser; 31-Jul-2015 at 15:10.

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