a handsome profit vs. handsome profits

Allegro molto

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello

A. The big oil companies made a handsome profit out of the fuel crisis.
B. Ford expects handsome profits from its phone business.
(from dictionaries)

Please explain how to use the phrase "a/0 handsome profit(s)" properly.
In A, the subject is plural while the phrase is singular.
In B, the subject is singular while the phrase is plural.

Thank you
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I don't think you should look for logic here, Allegro. Using either "a handsome profit" or "handsome profits" will work with singular or plural subjects. I read and hear "a handsome profit" more.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Owlman is right that they're often used interchangeably. Still, Allegro, I share your reaction: I would have used "handsome profits" in A and "a handsome profit" in B.

    The forum does ask that you give sources for quoted text; "dictionaries" isn't a source. Which dictionaries were your sources for these two examples?
     

    Allegro molto

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    The forum does ask that you give sources for quoted text; "dictionaries" isn't a source. Which dictionaries were your sources for these two examples?
    Hello, Parla
    Thank you very much for your reply

    The source is:
    Longman Language Activator for A.
    MacMillan English Dictionary for B.
     
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