the relations (relationships) between the Mexican and American people

Gabriele8512

Senior Member
Italian - Italy
Hello!

I was just wondering if it would be better to say:

the relations between the Mexican and American people

the relationships between the Mexican and American people

What do you guys think about it? Which phrase sounds better to you?

Thanks

G.
 
  • Gabriele8512

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    Please give a proposed sentence and state the context and what you're trying to say. Good morning!
    Sure, thanks.

    Here is my phrase:

    I've always thought that the relations (or relationships) between the Mexican and American people were not the best

    G.
     

    witchqueen

    Senior Member
    English (US)
    If you use "relations," take out the article...

    "relations between the Mexican and American peoples."

    If you use "relationships," make it singular...

    "the relationships between the Mexican and American peoples."

    Either which way, make people plural. People is being used as a group noun, and you're talking about two disparate groups, therefore it should be plural to reflect that.

    As to whether you should use relations or relationship, "relations" tends to have more of a diplomatic or political connotation, while "the relationship" has a social or personal context.
     

    Gabriele8512

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    "What is the relationship like between the Mexican and American people?"

    Is it correct? Sorry, I'm so confused! :(

    Could you please explain to me why should I take out the definite article before "relations" but not before "relationship"?

    Thanks for your patience!

    G.
     

    witchqueen

    Senior Member
    English (US)
    "What is the relationship like between the Mexican and American people?"

    Is it correct? Sorry, I'm so confused! :(

    Could you please explain to me why should I take out the definite article before "relations" but not before "relationship"?

    Thanks for your patience!

    G.
    I'm afraid I can't give you a good reason why, it's just how the words are used.

    Relations are strained between the U.S. and North Korea right now.
    The two neighboring countries established strong diplomatic relations during the war.
    How are relations between Mexicans and Americans?
     

    Gabriele8512

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    I'm afraid I can't give you a good reason why, it's just how the words are used.

    Relations are strained between the U.S. and North Korea right now.
    The two neighboring countries established strong diplomatic relations during the war.
    How are relations between Mexicans and Americans?

    Thank you all the same! :)

    What about my previous phrase ""What is the relationship like between the Mexican and American people?"

    Does it sound weird to you?



    Thanks



    Gabriele
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I would never claim that millions of people "have a (one) relationship with" millions of other people. Any description of that one "relationship" will be an extreme stereotype of both peoples. In reality there are hundreds of different "relationships" between Americans and Mexicans.

    What about my previous phrase ""What is the relationship like between the Mexican and American people?"
    To focus on this grammar question, let's change the people involved, making the sentence:

    1. What is the relationship like between Susan and Katherine?

    In this sentence there is a noun phrase: "the relationship between Susan and Katherine". The sentence asks what that <noun phrase> is like.

    1a. What is [the relationship between Susan and Katherine] like?

    It is awkward to put "like" in the middle of the noun phrase. But it is correct English. Both 1 and 1a are correct.
     
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