"" THE ROAD NOT TAKEN: The right form of expression ...? Part 2

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Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The right form of expression ...? Part 2

COULD you help to settle some private arguments about the right form of expression for the following?

a. Should it be “... under any circumstance” or “... under any circumstances”?

b. Is it “The pearl, like every individual person, takes time to grow and develop” or “A pearl, like every individual person, takes time to grow and develop”?

c. Do you say, “They all did it in their own particular way” or “They all did it in their own particular ways”?

d. Which is appropriate: “Halftruths” or “Halvestruth”?



ANSWERS: 
 

a. “Any” should be used with a plural or uncountable noun in a negative sentence. So, “... under any circumstances” is correct, but the sentence it is in must be negative, e.g. “Don’t bomb civilians under any circumstances.”

b. “A pearl, like every individual person, takes time to grow and develop” is correct.

c. I would go for “They all did it in their own particular ways.” because “they all” is plural and therefore the plural “ways” should be used. But we could say “They each did it in their own particular way.” where each person is considered separately and “their” is used as a singular possessive to mean his/her.

d. “Half-truths” is the correct form.

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