Difference in nuance: plural vs singular

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gorikaz

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Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Japanese
Home Country
Japan
Current Location
Japan
Dear native speakers,

Suppose that there are 100 students in front of you, and each student has a computer.

Q1. Under this circumstance, if the following are stated, what would each actually mean?

1. See there is a dot on your screen.
2. See there are dots on your screens.
3. See there is a dot on your screens.

Q2. If a dot (only one dot) is shown on each student's computer screen, which of the above three would be a correct sentence?
 
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Soup

VIP Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2007
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
China
Dear gorikaz, it depends on how your is interpreted:

1. There is a dot on your screen. [singular] :tick:
=> viewing the students as invididuals

2. There are dots on your screens. :cross:
=> more than one dot

3. There is a dot on your screens. [plural] :tick:
=> viewing the students as a collective, each of whom has a screen; therefore, screens.

Hope that helps.
 
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