How long will you do aerobics at the gym? I'll do <it/them> for half an hour.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Tenacious Learner, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. Tenacious Learner

    Tenacious Learner Senior Member

    Spanish
    Hello teachers,
    Surfing on the net I found that the word 'aerobics' can take either a singular or a plural verb.
    Though I also found this definition in the forum:
    aerobics = a physical exercise = singular verb * ==> (Always needs a singular verb)

    Then, I assume that in the answer both object pronouns are possible, aren't they?
    How long will you do aerobics at the gym?
    a) I'll do it for half an hour.
    b) I'll do them for half an hour.

    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
  2. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    I would avoid using a pronoun for aerobics when answering that question, since both "it" and "them" sound strange. The singular is more appropriate: aerobics is fun, not aerobics are fun.

    I'll be doing it for half an hour.


     
  3. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    I've never had to speak of aerobics, so I don't know. They both sound all right to me. It = the exercise or activity as a whole. Them = the particular, er, up and down or sideways motions that are repeated. (What are/is aerobics, anyway?)
     
  4. Hermione Golightly

    Hermione Golightly Senior Member

    London
    British English
    Aerobics is an out of date form of exercise, I believe. I thought I was the only person in the world who didn't know what exactly it is;). It involves too much jumping around for my taste.
     
  5. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    Perhaps you should wait for some more answers TL, from members who know what aerobics is/are/was/were.
    Yours is a legitimate question, and I find it difficult to understand why anybody would want to post here purely to proclaim their ignorance.:rolleyes: Couch potatoes to a man, I shouldn't wonder. :D
     
  6. DonnyB

    DonnyB Sixties Mod

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Oxford Dictionaries Online define aerobics as plural noun [often treated as singular]: Vigorous exercises designed to increase cardiovascular efficiency.

    Therefore I think you could use either:
    a) I'll do it for half an hour. (it = the activity)
    or

    b) I'll do them for half an hour. (them = the exercises)

    But in fact wouldn't most native speakers just answer the question by saying simply "Oh, half an hour"? :)
     
  7. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    In my experience, aerobics is an activity which consists of a series of aerobic exercises, but the individual exercises are not called aerobics individually (one jumping jack is not an aerobic and doing only jumping jacks is not aerobics even though jumping jacks are an aerobic exercise). No one says "I did 40 aerobics." but "I did 40 minutes of aerobics." In other words, it's not countable.
    I wouldn't use DonnyB's b.
     
  8. Tenacious Learner

    Tenacious Learner Senior Member

    Spanish
    Hello teachers,
    Thank you for all your replies. They are very helpful.

    TL
     

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