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    #1

    Must be plural in this case?

    Dear teachers,

    Please teach me whether the following #1 case is grammatically wrong or not? Does it necessarily have to be plural?

    1. Women(Those who) who have a big belly are ...
    2. Women(Those who) who have big bellies are...

    If both are correct, which is preferred to use in general and why? For conciseness and concord?


    • Join Date: Mar 2007
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    #2

    Re: Must be plural in this case?

    Both are ok.

    The reason is because WOMEN is the subject, not the description of them.


    • Join Date: Sep 2005
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    #3

    Re: Must be plural in this case?

    The subject is not just women, it is only those women who have a big belly.

    That is actually where the problem lies. There are multiple women, so there should be multiple big bellies, but writing 'women who have big bellies' could be taken to mean strange women who each have multiple big bellies. On the other hand 'women who have a big belly' could mean group ownership of a single really huge belly.

    Out of the choices given, 'women who have a big belly' is probably the better choice, and trust that the reader understands the implied 'each'.

    If I were writing the sentence, I would accept that 'women with a big belly' is the subject and condense it into one compound subject noun for clarity

    "Big-bellied women are..."

    Often, the best answer to difficult phrases is to throw them away and start again

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    #4

    Re: Must be plural in this case?

    Thank you for your comments.
    I see, it sounds like #1 is better than #2 after listening to your opinions and advice. People might misunderstand that "each woman has big bellies(plural)" if I use the #2 case, right? Is my understanding correct?


    • Join Date: Jul 2006
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    #5

    Re: Must be plural in this case?

    Quote Originally Posted by gorikaz View Post
    Dear teachers,
    Please teach me whether the following #1 case is grammatically wrong or not? Does it necessarily have to be plural?
    1. Women(Those who) who have a big belly are ...
    2. Women(Those who) who have big bellies are...
    If both are correct, which is preferred to use in general and why? For conciseness and concord?
    The second sentence keeps the plural consistency; that is why I like it more.
    Only idiots will deduce that each woman has several big bellies, so I do not think the second sentence carries more ambiguity than the first with its suggesting 'common ownership'.

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    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    #6

    Re: Must be plural in this case?

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    ...idiots...
    Please think about your audience. Some readers might find your choice of word offensive. Keep the forum friendly, please.


    • Join Date: Sep 2005
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    #7

    Re: Must be plural in this case?

    Quote Originally Posted by gorikaz View Post
    Thank you for your comments.
    I see, it sounds like #1 is better than #2 after listening to your opinions and advice. People might misunderstand that "each woman has big bellies(plural)" if I use the #2 case, right? Is my understanding correct?
    That is it yes.


    Only idiots will deduce that each woman has several big bellies, so I do not think the second sentence carries more ambiguity than the first with its suggesting 'common ownership'.
    Does 'idiots' include those who don't speak English well? Who may have looked in their dictionary at the several definitions of belly, selected the 'thick portion of a muscle' one, and be under the impression that we are talking about women with muscles?

    Nobody has to accept any ambiguity. You can remove it all by using 'Big-bellied women...'

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    #8

    Re: Must be plural in this case?

    I would like to appreciate to all the people who participated in my discussion.
    I have concluded myself that either case is okay, but #1 might be a bit better in this case. Again, thank you for all your help.

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