the family/families

Kacy.H

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, people. I saw this essay question online. Is 'the family' correct? I think it should be 'families'.

The family has a great influence on children’s development, but the influence from outside the home plays a bigger part in children’s life. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    You can use either, but when you have "the home" later on in the sentence, it makes sense to use "the family". Both words refer to the children: the children's family and the children's home.
     

    Kacy.H

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    but when you have "the home" later on in the sentence, it makes sense to use "the family".
    Uncle Jack, does this mean if I use 'families', I should change 'the home' to 'homes', and 'influence' to 'influences'?

    Families has a great influence on children’s development, but the influences from outside homes play a bigger part in children’s life.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Uncle Jack, does this mean if I use 'families', I should change 'the home' to 'homes', and 'influence' to 'influences'?

    Families has a great influence on children’s development, but the influences from outside homes play a bigger part in children’s life.
    You cannot use "homes" since this meaning of "home" is uncountable. Although other variations are possible, changing "influence" to "influences" may change the meaning (it forces readers to think in terms of multiple influences), and there isn't really any justification for removing "the" from "home". Change "the family" to "families" if you want, but leave the rest as it is.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    You could also use uncountable singular "family". With either "the family" or "family", I would change "children's" to "a child's".
    Family has a great influence on a child's development.
    I think I like "families ... children's ..." the least of the three options as you need context to know that it doesn't mean "multiple families have an effect on one child" or "multiple families have an effect on multiple children (unrelated)".
     
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