confusing

Status
Not open for further replies.
A

Anonymous

Guest
A How many people can say that their letter was quoted on air.
B How many people can say that their letters were quoted on air.

"their letters" in B means???

1. one person/one letter
2. one person/many letters
3. can be both
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
Both. We'd use A to make the distinction if the number was important. To show many letters, we could add 'all' to make that clear. ;-)
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
jeab said:
A How many people can say that their letter was quoted on air.
B How many people can say that their letters were quoted on air.

"their letters" in B means???

1. one person/one letter
2. one person/many letters
3. can be both

I agree with TDOL. Because the subject is plural, we use the pronoun "their". That leads to a tendency to pluralize letters. If one wanted to emphasize a single letter, one could use the singular. I would then change "their" to his/her, but many would not. +;-)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top