Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. susan_allsopp
    Guest
    #1

    Miss Allsopp

    Could you please help?

    This has been nagging at me for a few days now; I said "I've taken one of your gums." In relation to taking a singular chewing gum from a full packet. The person I spoke to insisted this was not correct grammar, due to the plaural. I agree its not the best phrasing (I should have said "I've taken a gum."), but as far as English grammatical rules go, is it incorrect grammar?
    My understanding is this: By infering that there are many 'Chewing gum peices' in the packet by saying I'd taken 'one' would mean I would have to refer to the 'gum' in plaural. Plus, it just doesn't sound right if you say "I've taken one of your gum."

    Hopefully waiting to hear your verdict.

    Susan Allsopp


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #2

    Re: Miss Allsopp

    I think the problem is that "gums" is generally taken to mean the gums in your mouth. So it is better to avoid it be saying "I have taken a piece of gum from your packet".


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #3

    Re: Miss Allsopp

    Quote Originally Posted by susan_allsopp View Post
    Could you please help?

    This has been nagging at me for a few days now; I said "I've taken one of your gums." In relation to taking a singular chewing gum from a full packet. The person I spoke to insisted this was not correct grammar, due to the plural. I agree its not the best phrasing (I should have said "I've taken a gum."), but as far as English grammatical rules go, is it incorrect grammar?
    My understanding is this: By infering that there are many 'Chewing gum pieces' in the packet by saying I'd taken 'one' would mean I would have to refer to the 'gum' in plural. Plus, it just doesn't sound right if you say "I've taken one of your gum."

    Hopefully waiting to hear your verdict.

    Susan Allsopp
    The person was being overly pedantic, Susan. By convention, nothing else, 'gum' is/was viewed as an uncountable, although one could easily argue that it has, thru use become a countable. But regardless, in speech, we all do the same thing, often.

    I'll have a beer/a whiskey/a milk/a gum/ an ice cream/a ...

    You followed the rules of English speech perfectly.

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552
    #4

    Re: Miss Allsopp

    It's a tricky one, this. riverkid is technically correct in that "a gum" could refer to "a piece of gum" in the same way that "a coffee" can refer to "a cup of coffee".

    However, in this specific instance, the sentence you have uttered is open to misinterpretation. As Anglika says, it could be understood to mean one of the gums that stop your teeth from falling out -- and, to be honest, that was the image that came to my mind when I first read the sentence.

    So riverkid is correct in one sense, but I don't think the person was being overly pedantic. It's not a grammar mistake, but it is ambiguous and thus badly phrased.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #5

    Re: Miss Allsopp

    Lucky for us, language has context. These types of situations occur all the time in speech and, forgive me folks, but isn't it more than a wee bit odd to think that someone had taken someone's gums. How is this even possible?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 2,585
    #6

    Re: Miss Allsopp

    Quote Originally Posted by susan_allsopp View Post
    Could you please help?

    This has been nagging at me for a few days now; I said "I've taken one of your gums." In relation to taking a singular chewing gum from a full packet. The person I spoke to insisted this was not correct grammar, due to the plural.
    "One of your gums" means "one (gum) among your gums".

    Thus "one (gum)" expresses the singular, and relates to the gum that you took; "of the gums" expresses the plural, and relates to the gums that remain in the packet.

    Best wishes,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

Similar Threads

  1. they'll miss another
    By KLPNO in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 28-Oct-2007, 20:54
  2. Shouldn't Miss
    By namsteven in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 23-Jul-2007, 19:02
  3. Miss
    By nyugaton in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-Sep-2006, 11:43
  4. miss
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 24-Dec-2004, 03:53
  5. I miss you so much.
    By sharguar in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 06-Sep-2004, 17:34

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
  •