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    #1

    To single out

    When I use the phrase to single out, can I select more than one thing/person to support my example or convey some information when I want to choose something/someone from a group? I have always thought it could only be just one, and now I am unsure whether the phrase has a broader meaning and more things/persons/places, etc. can be selected.

    “There was also criticism of the decision to 'name and shame' the worst performing school areas in the country, as the Department of Education singled out Knowsley in the North West, and Salford and Rochdale in Greater Manchester.”
    (from Sky News, 3 Nov. 2015)
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  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: To single out

    To "single out" should be used in reference to one thing. The text you have quoted is wrong. Not really very surprising from Sky News, an illiterate, populist Murdoch institution.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

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  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: To single out

    Because the named schools are in different districts, "singled out" can be used, in my opinion. The reasoning is that they picked one in each district.

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    #4

    Re: To single out

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Because the named schools are in different districts, "singled out" can be used, in my opinion. The reasoning is that they picked one in each district.
    But they didn't. They picked "Salford and Rochdale in Greater Manchester.” So, unless "Salford and Rochedale" is the name of one school, they didn't single it out.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: To single out

    Oops! You're right.

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    #6

    Re: To single out

    It's not uncommon to hear phrases like "single out a few people for recognition", or "single out Tom and John for their efforts on X"

    It's not necessarily literal - sometimes 'single out' is used to mean 'point out' or 'hold up for example', etc.

    I don't have a problem with the usage in the OP.
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