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#37048 - 08/22/06 12:36 AM Re: Grammar Question
Sarai
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/05
Posts: 162
Loc: Adelaide, Australia

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To solve an ongoing debate: which of these is correct?

"Asbestos dust and fibre was in the air."

"Asbestos dust and fibre were in the air."

I think it's the first one, but my boss claims the second is correct because there are two items that are in the air. I can't explain my reasons for thinking the first is correct, except that 'it sounds right', which isn't really cutting it as proof...

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#37049 - 08/22/06 01:53 AM Re: Grammar Question
orlando2
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 79
Loc: Western Australia

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I think it's the second one, for the reason that your boss gives. Because there's two items, I'm pretty sure it should take the third person plural.
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#37050 - 08/22/06 03:43 AM Re: Grammar Question
skwirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/20/04
Posts: 218
Loc: Michigan

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I agree with orlando2. Try it this way:

"They was in the air."

"They were in the air."

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#37051 - 08/22/06 08:26 AM Re: Grammar Question
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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I agree with orlando2 and skwirl. (I like skwirl's intuitive test.)

But I think I know why Sarai might feel the first one sounds right. If you are assuming that "dust and fibre" are collective (all one thing -- because you can't really separate the dust and fibre), it might seem like it should take a singular verb.

Grammatically, though, the sentence needs the "were."

Edited for a random rogue "i" -- I don't really have the hang of this new keyboard yet....

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#37052 - 08/22/06 06:54 PM Re: Grammar Question
Sarai
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/05
Posts: 162
Loc: Adelaide, Australia

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That's exactly it, I was thinking of them as a collective. Thanks for setting me straight.

We ended up putting "asbestos dust and fibres were in the air" which satisfied everyone anyway.

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#37053 - 09/20/06 03:02 PM Re: Grammar Question
Happy Birthday mini-mart
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/19/02
Posts: 176
Loc: Toronto

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This is similar to the 0.3 miles question from before. It should be obvious, but I can never figure it out.

Why do we say "none were there" and not "none was there"?

Why is zero plural? Should I use the second option instead of the first?

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#37054 - 09/20/06 04:52 PM Re: Grammar Question
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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Hi mini-mart *waves* Actually, it depends on the context of the rest of the sentence.

If you're saying that your friends didn't show up when you expected to, then you'd write, "None [of my friends] were there."

If you're saying that somebody ate the last slice of pie, then you'd write, "None [of the pie] was there."

Does that help?

ETA: Can you tell I'm an English professor? Heh.

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#37055 - 09/20/06 11:44 PM Re: Grammar Question
Happy Birthday mini-mart
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/19/02
Posts: 176
Loc: Toronto

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Hi LaSalleUGirl!

Actually, that makes perfect sense. I suppose I just never really heard it explained to me before.

Thanks for the speedy reply.

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#37056 - 10/04/06 06:59 PM Re: Grammar Question
mashenka
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 222
Loc: NY

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Which is better, "married, with no children" or "married, but with no children"?
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#37057 - 10/04/06 07:04 PM Re: Grammar Question
Sarai
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/05
Posts: 162
Loc: Adelaide, Australia

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Depends on what you're using the phrase for. The second sounds rather more apologetic - kind of like "married (bad) - but with no children! (good)", whereas the first is just stating the facts.
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