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(a) The price and commitment of caring for one's aged parents was escalating steadily because of a shortage of affordable nursing homes and a lack of home-care services.

(b) The price and the commitment of caring for one's aged parents were escalating steadily because of a shortage of affordable nursing homes and a lack of home-care services.

What kind of difference do you native speakers detect between these two?
Comments  
Taka
(a) The price and commitment of caring for one's aged parents was escalating steadily because of a shortage of affordable nursing homes and a lack of home-care services.
(b) The price and the commitment of caring for one's aged parents were escalating steadily because of a shortage of affordable nursing homes and a lack of home-care services.
What kind of difference do you native speakers detect between these two?

I'm not a native English speaker, but my suggestion is that "The price and the commitment" in (a) are regarded to form a unity, so the singular past tense form of the verb "be" is used, while in (b), they are regarded to be two separated things which leads to the use of the plural form "were".

Cheers

-Pemmican


Hi,

I agree with Pemmican.

In (a) the unity is further reinforced by omitting 'the' in front of 'commitment'.

A further point, perhaps a bit off track, is I have a reservation about the way 'price' and 'commitment' are paired here. A price is often said to 'escalate', but it sounds a little bit awkward to say a commitment escalates. A little more natural would be 'the level/degree of commitment' escalates. For this reason, I prefer version (b) because it links price and commitment more loosely.


Best wishes, Clive



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I'm not sure 'the commitment of caring' is idiomatic. Really, we want a phrase that combines 'the price of caring' and 'the level of commitment to caring'*. Looks like it could be ugly, though...

MrP

*Edit: or 'the level of commitment involved in caring...'
Clive, MrP.

Yes, that's what I wanted to ask. Actually, the original sentence is (a), but it seemed awkward to me...

So, (b) is my revision, a minor revision, though.

How would you revise it?
Hi,

I'd say something like

Both the price and the level of commitment necessary to care for one's aged parents were escalating steadily because of a shortage of affordable nursing homes and a lack of home-care services.

Clive
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Maybe:

"The cost of caring for one's aged parents, not to mention the level of commitment required, was increasing steadily. This was because of the shortage of affordable nursing homes and the lack of home-care services."

Or if the context is the present:

"The cost of caring for one's aged parents, not to mention the level of commitment required, has steadily increased in recent years. This is largely the result of the shortage of affordable nursing homes and the lack of home-care services."

MrP