Interested in Language
I was wondering which one of the following sentences is correct?
They are reading a book. or They are reading books.
They are eating a hamburger or They are eating hamburgers.
Should we make the noun (i.e. a book, a hamburger) plural because of the pronoun?
Are both of them correct? Does it depend on the context?
Thanks for your response.
So you mean all of them are correct and possible?
Yes. teechar has just demonstrated that.
How should I describe the picture?
Is it OK for me to say "They are reading a book" or should I say "Each of them is reading a book"?
I'm sorry to ask such a silly question.
I would say 'They are each reading a book', but I am not a teacher.
This idea of "distributive plurals" can be researched.
Sometimes either can be used without confusion.
The girls all brought a book with them. -- You can assume each had their own.
The girls bought a book for their friend's birthday. -- Did they all pay towards one book, or each give their own? You would have to clarify.
Use common sense - many people would not eat one hamburger. They were all having a hamburger when I got there. -- You're not confused, are you?
Last edited by Rover_KE; 09-Aug-2015 at 16:52. Reason: Fixing typo. Thank you, Matthew.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
===== Not a teacher =====
"They are reading books" is also OK - although not so precise as the previous (it would need context to be understood).
You may also say "They are each reading a book".