a nation’s culture and history

Discussion in 'English Only' started by VicNicSor, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Royal families also play a role in preserving a nation’s culture and history.
    Why Do We Still Have Monarchies? a video by NowThis

    This seems odd to me. Sounds like there's one nation, whose culture and history all royal families preserve:confused:

    So I'd have said:
    Royal families also play a role in preserving their nations’s cultures and history.

    What do you think of that?
    Thank you.
     
  2. The Newt

    The Newt Senior Member

    USA / EEUU
    English - US
    Either version would be fine, if you're talking about royal families in various countries. Just check your punctuation.
     
  3. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    But what nation is implied by "a nation’s"?
    Do you mean the comma before 'whose'?...
     
  4. The Newt

    The Newt Senior Member

    USA / EEUU
    English - US
    their nations’s
     
  5. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    You were expecting a monarch to preserve the culture and history of another nation than their own?
     
  6. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    But doesn't this unparallelism strike the listener as odd?
    Royal families ........ a nation’s culture and history.
    I wasn't, but, isn't the speaker?...
     
  7. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Not at all (and where would the logic be in such a statement? If I'm king of country A why would I be interested in preserving the history and culture of country B? :eek: ). The "a" here is just a general responsibility of a monarch/family to preserve ... a nation. The sentence begins a plural version of :A royal family ...
     
  8. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    I agree about "logic", but isn't it a case where grammar is against logic?

    E.g., a sentence from Longman:
    "Cats prey on birds and mice."
    If I rewrite it as "Cats prey on a bird and a mouse." -- would it still sound right?
     
  9. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    That wouldn't sound logical either:)

    In many cases where the subject and object can be either singular or plural is where English grammar is lacking (I know this will disppoint you terribly:eek: ).
    The students all held up their book(s). (How many does each hold up? More than one or just one?)
     
  10. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    It's a specific situation, and context usually makes the number of things clear. But in the OP and Longman, they are generalizations, and so, the grammar there must be less vague I think:)
     
  11. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    Royal families also play a role in preserving a nation’s culture and history.

    This is indefinite generic reference, where "a" singles out one member of the set "nations," and this one member refers to the set "nations" as a whole (and not to one member in particular). It's the same thing that happens in A tiger hunts alone (a = any = all). If you say "Royal families also play a role in preserving their nations's culture and history," it begins to sound as if the royal families have/own/ have a presence in more than one nation.
     
  12. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    I know what "a" was intended to mean here, but it sounds ambiguous. And when in such generalizations we use plurals with plurals, and singulars with singulars, it's always clearer I think. If you say "royal families .... their nations's cultures and history", logic would prevent you from interpreting it as you did.
     
  13. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    (You didn't pluralize history - each country has its own history:)
    It's still ambiguous:( How many nations do they have to preserve? How many books did each student hold up? Logic reigns over potential ambiguities that cannot be resolved with just grammar (or not without re-wording extensively). The very slight potential ambiguity in the OP is trounced by the logic of one monarch/family per country:)
     
  14. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    By the way, why use "their" at all?

    Royal families also play a role in preserving nations’s cultures and histories.

    I think it sounds even better now, doesn't it?:)
     
  15. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    Connecticut
    English - US (Midwest)
    Not at all.
     
  16. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    (You keep adding an s after the apostrophe in nations' - it is wrong - as I tried to point out in #13)
     
  17. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    This is confusing -- why does it sound worse if the two parts are completely parallel now?:)
    Ah, it was highlighted but not crossed-through, so I didn't get it:)
     
  18. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Red means danger = wrong:)
     

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