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    • Join Date: Oct 2005
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    Question Lost in ... writing instructions!


    I'd like you to tell me if the underlined words are used correctly in the following instructions:

    1. Put in the correct comparative forms of the adjectives.
    2. Fill in the crossword with the opposites of the words in bold.

    I want to know whether one should use the singular in such cases as someone suggested, given that the student should supply a comparative form of a given adjective at a time, or the opposite of each of the words written in bold, as is the case in the latter sentence.
    I found that some prefer to use the singular, others use the plural.
    Is there a rule when writing instructions with reference to the use of singular/plural forms as in my examples?

    Please help for I feel a bit lost...


  1. Editor,
    English Teacher
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    Re: Lost in ... writing instructions!

    They're OK to me. If you use the singular, balance it-the correct form of the adjective used in each question, or something similar as correct form...adjectives doesn't work for me. Singular and plural issues can be a nightmare with a lot of disagreement.

    It's often not simply a matter of counting as there are a number of factors that can affect our choices- proximity, where we make a verb agree with the noun phrase nearest it rather than .taking everything into account, so some say 'there is a car and a van parked outside' because it sounds better than 'there are a...'. As you have seen yourself, different people use different forms, so it is hard to say that only one is right. With instructions, clarity is the key so why not ask a few learners and see what they prefer?

  2. Newbie
    English Teacher
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    Re: Lost in ... writing instructions!

    How many correct comparative forms are there for each adjective?
    one or more than one?

    that's your answer.

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