Many people need a motorbike or motorbikes for... ?

Camlearner

Senior Member
Khmer
Hi

Do I say ?

Many people world need a motorbike or motorbikes for commuting in the city nowadays..

Thanks.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You can use either one. Since you're using the plural "people", I recommend that you use the plural "motorbikes" as well: Many people in the world need motorbikes for commuting in the city nowadays.
     

    Camlearner

    Senior Member
    Khmer
    Many people in the world need motorbikes for commuting in the city nowadays.
    Thank you owlman5, so here can confused or not that each person is reported to have more than 1 bike or from 2 bikes on, by writing motorbikes ? or will not confusing ?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    No, I don't think anybody is going to get the idea that each person needs more than one motorbike in this sentence. If you want, you can change it to: Many people in the world need a motorbike for commuting in the city nowadays.

    I prefer the first version, but either will work.
     

    Camlearner

    Senior Member
    Khmer
    Thank you owlman5.

    When I write Many people in the world need a motorbike for commuting in the city nowadays in my language, I seem to feel like surprising to hear people around the world need only 1 bike to share together .. :eek:Enlgish is really different from my language
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Well, Camlearner, it sounds a little funny to me too. However, I got the idea that you didn't like the plural "motorbikes", so I gave you another choice. Using "a motorbike" with "people" is not my first choice.
     

    Camlearner

    Senior Member
    Khmer
    Thank you owlman5. So I should use like you like (Many people in the world need motorbikes for commuting in the city nowadays.) because you are my pen teacher. :)
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Do I say ? Many people world need a motorbike or motorbikes for commuting in the city nowadays..
    I have the feeling that the answer to this question depends on whether the writer regards the plural noun - people - as a group or as a number of unrelated individuals. A group of people need motorbikes for commuting. But a number of unrelated individuals need, each one, only one motorbike for commuting.
     

    Cameljockey

    Senior Member
    British English
    If Camlearner feels that the plural doesn't sit well, I suggest a slightly older phraseology: 'many a person needs a motorbike'.
     

    Camlearner

    Senior Member
    Khmer
    Hi Cameljockey.. thank you but What? many a person needs a motorbike? I never hear. So many a person here mean everyone or many people?

    Hi EStjarn I don't know yet/never study about that technical thinking : regards the plural noun - people - as a group or as a number of unrelated individuals. A group of people need motorbikes for commuting. But a number of unrelated individuals need, each one, only one motorbike for commuting. But from this your technical thought, whatever mode you base on, still the 2 types of your sentecnes still mean the same things or different meaning?

    P.S I just check again and see that I forget to write in the but it is understood already clearly already ;) (Do I say ? Many people in the world need a motorbike or motorbikes for commuting in the city nowadays..) but now what has in my mind to specify the absolute clear meaning of my first original meaning is maybe, if I am right, to change to write like this? (ok?) : Many people in the world need motorbikes for commuting in the city nowadays (one person one bike ;))
     

    viajero_canjeado

    Senior Member
    English - Southeastern USA
    There's lots of gray area when it comes to matching number between a subject and object. Usually you just need to use common sense to figure out the intended meaning:

    "Everyone must wear a helmet!" - Here it would be ridiculous to interpret the sentence as meaning everyone must simultaneously wear the same helmet.
    "All the customers wanted pies." - Here you can't be absolutely certain whether or not each customer wanted a single pie or multiple pies, but if you think about the nature of groups of people the truth would probably lie somewhere in the middle: some people want one pie, some people want two and some want three, and others are probably just there to see what all the fuss is about and aren't even particularly fond of pies.

    Another usage to consider: When I asked the class if they wanted a break they all heaved a sigh of relief and said "do we ever!" Naturally not every single student said those very words at the exact same time, but in a literary setting it's acceptable to describe a situation in this way.
     

    Cameljockey

    Senior Member
    British English
    Camlearner, 'many a person' is the way to say 'many people' but still keep the whole sentence in the singular. It is a construction that many people forget or eschew, as it is a slightly more literary style, and is not in workaday usage.
     

    Camlearner

    Senior Member
    Khmer
    Hi viajero_canjeado .and Cameljockey. thank you for very good logic advice for me to understand.

    I like the word common sense that from my dictiontary is to find each solution to each problem from each real situation.. but however I feel when I start to stop questions, I will still be unclear a lot.:)
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    But from this your technical thought, whatever mode you base on, still the 2 types of your sentecnes still mean the same things or different meaning?
    I've revised my view; I think I was looking at the wrong end of the equation. Here's my new take: The indefinite article a does not always have the meaning of 'one'. When we say, A doctor must like people, we're not saying, One doctor must like people. Instead, we are using a to introduce a kind of profession - or as the grammar says - "a member of a class," i.e. a doctor is a member of a class (category) called professions. In the sentence Many people need a motorbike for commuting, we are not using a with the meaning of 'one'; we use it to introduce a member, motorbike, of a class called vehicles.
     
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