Author Topic: Next dumb question....  (Read 164 times)

Short-Cross

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Next dumb question....
« on: February 20, 2020, 09:04:57 AM »
I wait while she rummages in her door pocket and digs out a packet of antiseptic wipes. She tosses it onto my lap.

I wait while she rummages in her door pocket and digs out a packet of antiseptic wipes. She tosses them onto my lap.


Which one d'you reckon? I suspect it should be 'it' as the object is the packet, but 'them' just sounds better (to my ear anyway...)

Gyppo

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Re: Next dumb question....
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2020, 09:27:48 AM »
Strictly speaking packet is singular, so it's 'it'.

But I agree that 'them' feels better.

Reminds me of the classic question when learning 'Office Skills'.

Which is correct?  The next batch of invoices was prepared, or the next batch of invoices were prepared?

Batch is singular, despite being made up of several individual items.

Gyppo

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Re: Next dumb question....
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2020, 09:32:19 AM »
Hmm. Maybe 'it' is overly correct then?

Jo Bannister

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Re: Next dumb question....
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2020, 11:52:15 AM »
I'm with Gyppo.  Either is fine, but "them" works better.  Sometimes, while acknowledging their skill, it's necessary to show the grammarians a yellow card.  Perfection is sometimes uncomfortably close to pedantry.

If someone challenges it, hit back with Churchill.  Someone typing out a speech for him amended a sentence which he'd ended (shock, horror) with a preposition.  He struck out the correction and wrote in the margin: "This is something up with which I will not put!"

ps: These are not dumb questions.  They concern the building-blocks of our language and our literature.  We should all be trying to get the components right.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2020, 11:54:01 AM by Jo Bannister »

Mark Hoffmann

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Re: Next dumb question....
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2020, 01:04:12 PM »
I agree, go with "them".

Better for one pedant to think you lazy than a million readers to think you are the kind of person who wears cardigans with leather elbow patches.
If you like Bob the Alien he gets a good run out in my NaPoWriMo 2018. Download pdf here: http://www.scribblers-ring.co.uk/downloads/napowrimo_mhh_201804.pdf

Short-Cross

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Re: Next dumb question....
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2020, 03:11:05 PM »
Them it is then!

Thanks all for the input.