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  1. outofdejavu's Avatar
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    #1

    Can "that" be a plural referent?

    Hello,

    a. The ears of a rabbit are longer than those of a dog.
    b. The ears of a rabbit are longer than that of a dog.


    Is the use of "that" in (b) wrong?
    Can "that" be a plural referent?
    Is it safe to use "that" as a plural referent?

    I would like to have native English speakers' comments.
    Regards

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Cool Re: Can "that" be a plural referent?

    Quote Originally Posted by outofdejavu View Post
    hello,

    a. The ears of a rabbit are longer than those of a dog.
    B. The ears of a rabbit are longer than that of a dog.


    Is the use of "that" in (b) wrong?
    Can "that" be a plural referent?
    Is it safe to use "that" as a plural referent?

    I would like to have native english speakers' comments.
    Regards

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Can "that" be a plural referent?

    Quote Originally Posted by outofdejavu View Post
    Hello,

    a. The ears of a rabbit are longer than those of a dog. Good.
    b. The ears of a rabbit are longer than that of a dog. Bad.


    Is the use of "that" in (b) wrong? Yes.
    Can "that" be a plural referent? No.
    Is it safe to use "that" as a plural referent? No.

    I would like to have native English speakers' comments.
    Regards
    [I am a native English speaker. I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]

  4. outofdejavu's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Can "that" be a plural referent?

    Thanks. I just want to make sure of my knowledge of this issue.

    In a book designed for English learners and written by two Taiwanese English teachers, it only states that "use that or those to replace the aforementioned noun." It does not state that "that" is for a singular noun and that "those" is for a plural noun.
    I should write a letter to the authors.

    Thank you two so much.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Can "that" be a plural referent?

    You're welcome!

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