Results 1 to 3 of 3
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Aug 2005
    • Posts: 132
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    Singular or plural in generalization?

    When a noun is mentioned as a symbol or representative of all members of a group, which of the following can be used?

    1. Students are required to wear a uniform.
    2. Students are required to wear uniforms.

    *Do I need to make the above 1's "uniform" plural since the subject is plural? Or is it not necessarily required to make it plural since I am only referring "a uniform" as a generic noun in this sentence?

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: Singular or plural in generalization?

    Both are used; both are fine. The problem is co-referencing. Plural uniforms could mean that each student has more than one uniform or that each student has just the one uniform.

    1. Students are required to wear a uniform.
    2. Students are required to wear uniforms. <can be ambiguous>

    Context and/or paralinguistic information usually helps. For example, unlike 2. above, neither of these admits to ambiguity:

    Let's get into our car. <one car>
    Let's get into our cars. <two or more cars; one per person>

    The second example doesn't have two meanings. The reason being, we know that in reality one person can't drive two cars at the same time.

    All the best.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Aug 2005
    • Posts: 132
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: Singular or plural in generalization?

    I see, thank you for your informative comments and help!

Similar Threads

  1. Singular or plural?
    By zigzag in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 20-Jul-2006, 09:02
  2. singular or plural?
    By mhermy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-May-2006, 15:09
  3. SINGULAR NOUN of NOUNS that PLURAL VERB
    By piggy386 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 28-Aug-2005, 13:39
  4. verbs
    By eyescold_07 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-Aug-2005, 07:32
  5. Is 'manners' plural or singular?
    By peppy_man in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-Jun-2005, 00:53

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •