Is "than was possible" wrong?

cheshire

Senior Member
Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
I saw 10 times more google hits of "than was possible" than those of "than were possible," which is also said for "than is possible" over "than are possible."
Is "than were/are possible" wrong?
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I saw 10 times more google hits of "than was possible" than those of "than were possible," which is also said for "than is possible" over "than are possible."
    Is "than were/are possible" wrong?
    It depends on whether it's singular or plural, Cheshire. Eg.:

    Past Tense

    "The new washing machines do a better job (singular) than was possible in the past"

    "The new washing machines do many more loads (plural) of laundry than were possible in the past"

    Present Tense

    "A new washing machine would do a better job (singular) for us than is possible at the moment"

    "New washing machines in the apartment building would enable the tenants to do more loads (plural) of laundry than are possible at the moment"
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Dimcl, your my lovely mentor:p


    I don't get why "than were possible" in the following thread is not right. Could you tell me why?:(

    http://forum.wordreference.com/showpost.php?p=1959048&postcount=2
    Well, aren't you kind!:) With all due respect to Setwale Charm, it should be "were ever possible" because "shells" is plural. Eg:

    "The shells were hurled farther than had previously ever been possible"

    Just a rewording of the sentence but the plural syntax has to remain.
     
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