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Hello great teachers,

I have a question about choices between plural and singular forms.

Some English-native told me that I should use relevant nouns in a plural form when I create a sentence which begins with a plural subject.

For example,

"Team members who are fluent in English should be assigned as coordinators."

In this case, we should probably say "coordinators" rather than "a coordinator."

How about the sentence below?

"They should start learning English at their younger ages."

When I googled both "at their younger age" and "at their younger ages," I found that "at their younger age" was more commonly used. Additionally, should I omit "their"?

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Hi,

I have a question about choices between plural and singular forms.

Some English-native told me that I should use relevant nouns in a plural form when I create a sentence which begins with a plural subject. Generally speaking, that's good advice, but not always. Please see my comment below about your 'age' example.

For example,

"Team members who are fluent in English should be assigned as coordinators."

In this case, we should probably say "coordinators" rather than "a coordinator."

How about the sentence below?



"They should start learning English at their younger ages."

When I googled both "at their younger age" and "at their younger ages," I found that "at their younger age" was more commonly used. I found very few Google hits for either of these phrases. Be careful when you get so few, because it commonly means it's wrong or unnatural.

Additionally, should I omit "their"? Yes.

My first reaction on looking at this example is that 'at their younger age(s)' is a very unnatural thing to say.

A native speaker would say this as

"They should start learning English at a younger age".

'. . . at younger ages' sounds slightly odd to me in this context. Possibly because it makes me wonder if the writer is thinking that one person can have several younger ages (eg I was 7, I was 8, I was 9)'.

Other very typical ways to say it, depending on the intended meaning, are

"They should start learning English when they are young"

"They should have started learning English when they were younger".

Best wishes, Clive
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Hello Clive,

Thank you for the comment!

I think you are a very nice teacher.

>I found very few Google hits for either of these phrases. Be careful when you get so few, >because it commonly means it's wrong or unnatural.

You're right. I got very few hits on google, and I wondered it.

We say like "I look my age," "If you were at my age, you would understand my feelings" (I am not sure if they are totallly correct as sentences, though.)

So I thought that I had to add "their" to the earlier sentence.

>'. . . at younger ages' sounds slightly odd to me in this context. Possibly because it makes me >wonder if the writer is thinking that one person can have several younger ages (eg I was 7, I was >8, I was 9)'.

I have got it. It's a very compelling explanation.

Your answer has helped me improve my English skills. Thanks a lot! Nana
Hi,

You're welcome.

"If you were at my age, you would understand my feelings."

Clive
Hi Clive,

Thank you for the correction :-)
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