Hello everybody,

Yes, the issue is singular or plural as many questions have been posted in the past and so will be. I searched this sort of any previous question but whether or not I am a bad internet surfer I coudn't find what I am going to mention. Elemental but very ambiguous.

- Question
There was no significant change in laboratory parameters after...
There were no significant changes in laboratory parameters after...

It seems like both [only the focus of my question - there was/were no noun(s)] be ok, but I still don't understand any differences in nuance or grammatical rule.
Is it dependent on a noun that allows in singular or plural form or the case where the writer intends to deny all inclusive elements by choosing plural form, or what else? This is about the complete negation.

- Background
For the job reasons, I often review somebody else's translation (including sl-called professional ones). I often see this apparent 'shared notion' in our society that when negation is used the noun should be in singular. Meanwhile I see so many of native people's writings of negative sentences in plural. I probably know when people say 'there wasn't a (single) thing that I liked about him (grammatically incorrect probably here but the hang on the issue)' can produce very strong or probably the ultimate negation as equal to 'Nothing I liked about him at all'. Wow, the examples I used here just now are so 'negative'. Anyway, until now I haven't come across with a book that explains the difference between 'there was/were no noun(s)' and emerged on my top list for questions.

Well, I than you very much for those stopped by and read all through this and will thank you more for your option/advice on this question.

Best regards,
Souroin
Junior Member57
It depends on whether the sort of thing you are talking about undergoes discrete changes when it changes (There were no significant changes ...) or undergoes continuous change (There was no significant change ...).

Let's say your laboratory parameters are input parameters of certain numbers. The person conducting the experiment sets the parameters a certain way and then runs the experiment. Then he changes the parameters, perhaps turning one dial and then another, and so forth, and runs the experiment again, and so on. This would be a case of "There were no significant changes ..." Several changes were made and the changes were of different dials, let's say. This argues for the use of the plural.

Let's say you are instead monitoring some analog device like a thermometer over a long period of time. The device shows readings that slowly move up and down in a smooth, continuous manner. This would be a case of "There was no significant change ..." Only one device was being read and the change was occurring in a continuous manner. Both of these factors argue for the use of the singular.

If this doesn't quite hit on the difference, I'm sure someone will jump in and add more in order to clarify the idea further.
Veteran Member53,485
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Anonymous:
"There was eight riders", or there were eight riders'. I'd say the latter. I think it's a singular vs. plural rule. What do you think?
Anonymous"There was eight riders", or there were eight riders'. I'd say the latter.
Yes. It's the latter.

CJ
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Anonymous:
It's not entirley logical

Typically you would hear 'There was a bus and a car in the road', but 'A bus and a car were in the road'.

English grammar confuses even us native speakers.
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