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Those surpluses of food were disposed of by them.

Should "surpluses of food" be treated as a plural noun?

Since a preposition is used to indicate the relation of other words, Could you please tell me what relationship is indicated by “ofin “surpluses of food” and “two pieces ofbread”?Emotion: rolleyes

E.g.

(1) in “the rungs of a ladder” , of means “Belonging or connected to”

(2) in “a person of honor”, of means “Possessing; having”

(3) in “a basket of groceries”, of means “Containing or carrying”
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"Should "surpluses of food" be treated as a plural noun?" Yes.
Bread that is in surplus.
Pieces made of bread.
I'm not sure that surplus should be in the plural. If you had multiple sites, and each had too much food, then you would have a case where the plural was appropriate. But if you have only one place and you had too much food, then you have A surplus. While the plural is possible, the singular is more common - but without context, I can't say which on is correct.
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<<I'm not sure that surplus should be in the plural. If you had multiple sites, and each had too much food, then you would have a case where the plural was appropriate. But if you have only one place and you had too much food, then you have A surplus. While the plural is possible, the singular is more common - but without context, I can't say which on is correct. >>

i don't understand why should someone use plural for surples if its placed at different locations. I think we can use a singular by the virtue of notional agreement even when we have multiple locations.

GB
Hi! Thank you for your responses, here’re some examples:

(1) Surpluses of food can be sold for cash. (Example sentence in an Oxford’s dictionary)

I googled, and found in http://www.cbpp.org/7-18-00bud.htm , the following sentences:

(2) The House, the Senate, and the President have apparently agreed that the surpluses of the Medicare Hospital Insurance Emotion: wave Trust Fund, as well as thesurpluses of the Social Security trust funds, should be used to pay down the federal debt.

(3) According to CBO, the surpluses of the Medicare HI Trust Fund will total $360 billion over the next 10 years.

(4) The Congressional Budget Office today released new baseline budget projections that show non-Social Security surpluses of nearly $2.2 trillion over the next 10 years under current policies.

My question is still as the first floor (post 249075) said: What relationship was directed by of in “surpluses of food” and “2 pieces of bread”?

I care for this question because it’s very hard to determine which word is the central word in a “of phrase” – the word before “of” or after “of”Emotion: rolleyes. I think the relationship indicated by “of” could give us some valuable hint.

Thank you again

Maple
Grammarian-boti don't understand why should someone use plural for surples if its placed at different locations. I think we can use a singular by the virtue of notional agreement even when we have multiple locations.

GB

I agree. I would suggest "each surplus of food" (probably omitting "of food"). Don't like the plural at all.
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Thanks lot to you four great respondents!

After reading Barbara, Grammarian-bot and milky’s comments, I formed an impression that the main stream of native speakers tend to use the singular form of surplus though some dictionaries and some official documents do suggest the plural form of it is also acceptable.

That’s the best answer I can get since I have observed arguments on the singular-plural problems of special words seldom end in a universal agreement.

Now my curiosity is concentrated on the magic word “of” and the relations it indicates.
Hello Maple

Let's see what Wikipedia says:

Depending on the language, specific varieties of genitive-noun–main-noun relationships may include:
  • possession (see Possessive case ):
    • inalienable possession
    • alienable possession
    • relationship indicated by the noun being modified
  • composition (see Partitive case ):
    • substance ("a wheel of cheese")
    • elements ("a group of men")
    • source ("a portion of the food")
From [link] [/link]
MapleThose surpluses of food were disposed of by them.

Should "surpluses of food" be treated as a plural noun?

Since a preposition is used to indicate the relation of other words, Could you please tell me what relationship is indicated by “ofin “surpluses of food” and “two pieces ofbread”?Emotion: rolleyes

E.g.

(1) in “the rungs of a ladder” , of means “Belonging or connected to”

(2) in “a person of honor”, of means “Possessing; having”

(3) in “a basket of groceries”, of means “Containing or carrying”

To my knowledge, "surplus" is typically treated as singular. # 1 - Not sure what that means

# 2 is fine. # 3 -In the US, we say a bag of grocery or a box of grocery. Perhaps, basket is more expensiveEmotion: big smile

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