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Old 08-29-2012, 08:52 PM   #1
VydorScope
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Singular or Plural object when you have both?

So I say I have a sentence like

This could in fact be one of the fastest, if not the fastest, cars ever to be made.

Should car be plural or singular here?

Thanks!
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:43 AM   #2
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I think I'd try and reword the sentence - seriously, this is not a snappy jokey answer. How about:

This could in fact be one of the fastest cars ever to be made, if not the fastest.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:48 AM   #3
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This might be the fastest car ever built.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:55 AM   #4
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"the fastest car", but "one of the fastest cars".
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:58 AM   #5
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Your original version reads fine to me. It's clear and unambiguous and to me that's what grammar is primarily for. So whether it's technically correct or not, I think it's ok. It certainly wouldn't bring me out of the story or anything like that.

Now if you're looking for the best sounding sentence that's a matter of aesthetics.

I'd probably go with EileenG's suggestion because it's more concise and that feels better to me, but that's about taste really.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:04 AM   #6
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Thanks all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by EileenG View Post
This might be the fastest car ever built.
Quote:
Originally Posted by latepaul View Post
I'd probably go with EileenG's suggestion because it's more concise and that feels better to me, but that's about taste really.

My concern with EileenG's answer is that it sounds more definitive then I want to be. This is for a nonfiction essay.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:56 AM   #7
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True, but you already have "might be" in the line, which indicates that it it might or might not be. "could be in fact one of the fastest, if not the fastest" is overkill. More words, without any increase in content or clarity. The "in fact" should be deleted as it implies certainty which you do not have.

If it's for a non-fiction essay, it might be worth finding out if it really is the fastest. http://www.thesupercars.org/fastest-...d-top-10-list/
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EileenG View Post
True, but you already have "might be" in the line, which indicates that it it might or might not be. "could be in fact one of the fastest, if not the fastest" is overkill. More words, without any increase in content or clarity. The "in fact" should be deleted as it implies certainty which you do not have.

If it's for a non-fiction essay, it might be worth finding out if it really is the fastest. http://www.thesupercars.org/fastest-...d-top-10-list/
Well its not fastest, and its not car, but it would take a lot more setup to put the real sentence in so I changed out the "fastest" and "car" to make it simpler. In the real sentence is more subjective.

I think I might just go with your sentence though now that I think about it more. Simpler is better most times.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:18 PM   #9
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PLEASE learn the difference between "its" and "it's" before you publish your essay (or get it corrected by someone who does know). Honestly, it's not hard: "its" means "belonging to it"; "it's" is a contraction for "it is" or "it has".
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
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PLEASE learn the difference between "its" and "it's" before you publish your essay (or get it corrected by someone who does know). Honestly, it's not hard: "its" means "belonging to it"; "it's" is a contraction for "it is" or "it has".

Not a problem in this case, I do not use contractions in my formal work.
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:26 PM   #11
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"One of" always takes the plural.

It's hard to actually pick the "fastest" car because there are bunch of different categories. The land speed record is held by, IIRC, some sort of rocket car that set a record out in the desert in Utah...but it's not clear whether that should actual count as a "car," since it wasn't actually steerable. On the other hand, it has wheels.

There are also records for drag racers and similar specialized cars that race in a straight line. And there are records for "indy car" and "formula 1" racers, which are purpose built race cars that have steering and other features not usually considered optional on actual cars people drive. And then there are stock cars, which are based on cars that you could actually buy at a dealership (although internally I think they are quite different). And then of course there are the cars you buy at the dealership and don't modify at all.

And then of course there is the issue of distance - fastest over 1/4 mile; fastest mile; fastest 500 miles. Or time - fastest hour; fastest 24 hours. Or acceleration: fastest 0-60 speed; fastest 0-100 speed.

There are a lot of "fastest" cars...

I would say "made" instead of "to be made," though.
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