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Hi,

My brother and I have been arguing over this for a while now.

He says there is nothing wrong with grammar in saying "their Mashed Potatoes is good" when referring to mashed potatoes as a dish. A dish, being singular, makes the previous statement correct. I have been disagreeing with him from the start, saying that the only correct way to state that you are fond of someone's mashed potato recipe is "their mashed potatoes are good".

By his reasoning, you could also state that "Burger King's French Fries is bad" and "your mom's Baked Beans is good".

Please help me end this argument!

Thanks in advance. Emotion: smile
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Whether the item is one or many, the presentation affects whether it is singular or plural for conjugation.

I would use your sentence: "Their mashed potatoes are good."

A similar example "I like these pants." Even though the pants are one item, you have to treat it as though it were plural. "I like this pants." doesn't work.
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Hello Glitch

There are two ways of answering this:

Answer 1
1. Their mashed potatoes are good.
2. Their "mashed potatoes" is good.

In #1, you're talking about all their mashed potatoes. In #2, you're talking about the menu item "mashed potatoes".

Answer 2
1. ?Their mashed potatoes are good.
2. Their "mashed potatoes" is good.
3. Their mashed potato is good.

Once potatoes are mashed, they are no longer countable. Therefore #1 doesn't make sense.

#2 refers to the menu item.

#3 refers to the vast grey pullulating mass of substandard Solanum tuberosum thickened with last week's milk and floor sweepings that is bubbling away in encrusted backroom vats while idle Potato Liquidizing Operatives lean on the rim smoking stogies and picking their noses.

Answer 1 would be better for sautéed potatoes. For mash, I'd choose answer 2. (But I wouldn't eat any of it.)

MrP
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Comments  
#3 refers to the vast grey pullulating mass of substandard Solanum tuberosum thickened with last week's milk and floor sweepings that is bubbling away in encrusted backroom vats while idle Potato Liquidizing Operatives lean on the rim smoking stogies and picking their noses.

Hooo-eeeee! Now their mashed potatoes is certainly bad!
Love it, love it. Keep 'em coming!
Jim
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Incredible. You really do learn something new every day. Now, maybe you can teach me an easy way to unlearn something that sounds so right and learn it the right way when it sounds so awful? Emotion: big smile