...can develop a very itchy rash

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Hello! I had an exercise where I had to indicate whether each sentence was true or false. This sentence was marked as "false": Some individuals allergic to certain detergents can develop a very itchy rash on their hands.
I have no idea why this sentence is false. Does anybody have a clue?
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    "can develop" seems normal to me. I would have marked the original statement True.

    Having said that, it's an odd sentence in some ways. It is both very general ("some individuals") and very specific ("certain detergents" and "very itchy").

    Some individuals allergic to certain detergents can develop a very itchy rash on their hands.
     

    Appykid

    Senior Member
    India-English
    May be it meant "Individuals allergic to detergents can develop ...." and not just "some"
     
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    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello! I had an exercise where I had to indicate whether each sentence was true or false. This sentence was marked as "false": Some individuals allergic to certain detergents can develop a very itchy rash on their hands.
    I have no idea why this sentence is false. Does anybody have a clue?
    The sentence is fine. Whoever marked it as false needs their head examining.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    The brand of detergent I use carries a warning on the box "May produce an allergic reaction". So perhaps they're quibbling here over the difference between "may" and "can"? Even so, it strikes me as unreasonable to mark the statement as "false".
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Long Live Mercutio, can you tell us a little more about the exercise? Is it a language​ exercise, or is it an exercise about deducing facts from a passage?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Yes Donny, I thought it probably was a case of them preferring "may" too, though it's not fair to mark the statement as "false".
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I agree completely with TT, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with the sentence.

    I think natkretep makes a very good point, because "true" and "false" are not terms we normally apply in the same way as "right" and "wrong", or "correct" and "incorrect".
     
    I think, it is about the sense. For example, it contains sentences like "A scar is a cut on the skin", "Flaky is an adjective form", "Brittle nails are strong" and so on. Moreover, there is a sentence: "Irritants such as solvents and cosmetics do not trigger contact dermatitis", and it is also marked as "false".
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    It's entirely possible for an allergy to detergent to manifest in ways other than a "very itchy rash on their hands" - one can be allergic to the scent, and sneeze; one's eyes can water; one can have an itch without a rash, or an rash that is itchy but not very itchy; the rash can be on other parts of the body besides the hands.

    To me, it's clear that the sentence is true.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    The sentence is fine, as is the one you quote in #13 - nothing wrong with them (unless we think that cosmetics can't be classed as irritants, maybe?). As Edinburgher notes in post #12 (and natkretep earlier), I wonder whether they mean "right or wrong" as opposed to "true or false". Are the teaching materials produced in the UK or US or another English-speaking country, or are they produced locally?

    If the exercise occurs at the end of a lesson in which some specific language point or vocabulary has been introduced, it might be useful to look at what was taught in that lesson. Exercises are usually designed to test what has just been taught.
     
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    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Well in that case, maybe they are testing pharmacy rather than grammar, in which case "true" or "false" might, indeed, be right. Maybe there's something pharmacologically incorrect about them, but they look fine to the average (non-pharmacist) reader. Maybe terms like "allergic" or "irritants" are being used in a narrow medical sense.
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Sometimes test answers are incorrect. That seems to be the case here.

    Two points. First, the crucial part of the sentence is bolded in the textbook, and the bolding is part of the context: "Some individuals allergic to certain detergents can develop a very itchy rash on their hands."

    Second, the question is from a pre-assessment section, which is aimed at gauging the student's existing knowledge of language related to, here, a particular body system (skin, hair and nails). It is succeeded by more instructive sections, in which one may find:
    The sentences below contain vocabulary that describes and explains typical medical conditions, diseases,symptoms, and patient complaints that a pharmacist encounters. [...] 2. After washing the dishes with a new liquid detergent, the woman’s hands and wrists broke out in a very itchy rash. The pharmacist recommended an over-the-counter ointment, which stopped the itchy rash. Soon the woman stopped scratching her hands and wrists, and the rash cleared up.
     
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    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    long-live_mercutio said:
    Some individuals allergic to certain detergents can develop a very itchy rash on their hands.

    Some of them can even ride on buses. I would have marked that "true" too.
     
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