plural or singular

Reply Mon 13 Feb, 2017 10:17 pm
Among the sentences below, which sound grammatically incorrect?
Everyone has a head.
Everyone has two ears.
All people have a head.
All people have two ears.
All people have heads.
A university shouldn't be an ivory tower.
Universities shouldn't be an ivory tower.
Universities shouldn't be ivory towers.
These people are a group.
These people have 100 hands.
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Reply Mon 13 Feb, 2017 11:00 pm
@discernment tan,
Universities shouldn't be an ivory tower.

This is the only one that sounds wrong to me.
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Reply Tue 14 Feb, 2017 11:25 am
'One hundred hands' is better than '100 hands'.
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discernment tan
Reply Tue 14 Feb, 2017 11:49 pm
@discernment tan,
Thank you very much for your answers. Seen from us, non-native speakers, English is almost always "logical", and when teaching English, students always ask the "reason". So, it is surprising that "We have a head." and "We have heads." are both OK. I feel like ask you "WHY"????
Reply Wed 15 Feb, 2017 12:31 am
@discernment tan,
We have a head doesnt have the same implication as all people have a head. All people have a head suggests that all people possess this characteristic--a head. It's like saying every person has a head. We have a head, however, suggests that several people possess one head, if you can imagine that. I'm trying to think of a way for you to understand the suggestions of each sentence and the only thing im coming up with, which may be wrong, is that if the subject of the sentence is vague and there's little sense of quantity (eg plural pronouns), then there's room for a lot of ambiguity and misinterpretation if you don't make the object of the sentence plural to clearly show the relationship between the subject and object.
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