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Janet Swisher wrote:
>* Two thirds of the area is under water.
What's tripping me up is an imaginary situation where there are 4
children, 2 of who are going to school. Meanwhile, half a cake is going
to a party:
"Half of the cake is going to the party. Half of the children are going
It seems obvious to me that the cake (like the area, above) was a whole,
a single thing, so half of it is still a single thing. However, the
children were plural, so half of them is still plural.
(My mom would ask, all faux innocence, "Which half? The right half or
the left half?" My mom instilled in me a love of language play.)
What we can't seem to agree on is whether "20 years" is a singular,
taken as a whole, or plural. Mike said he meant them individually, so we
have nothing to go on here but authorial intent.
Then there's this, which drives me batty (a short trip, to be sure!):
These pants have a hole in the knee (1 or more garment, 1 hole per
This pair of pants has a hole in the knee (1 garment, 1 hole)
These pants have holes in the knees (1 garment, many holes OR many
garments, 1 or more holes per garment)
These pairs of pants have holes in the knees (many garments, 1 or more
holes per garment)
-- Madelyn, panting because it's hot out
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