there was/were no whites to his eyes

esther927

Member
Korean
Hello all,

He was dark - very dark. I mean, there was no whites to his eyes. They were orange.

This is a sentence about a man who came down with jaundice. What I want to ask is, why use 'was' when 'whites' is a plural form? Isn't 'were' more correct? Or is it because the speaker is referring to the whites in each eyes?
Thank you in advance.
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Where has this come from? In spoken English it is not unusual to hear a grammatical error such as "there was no whites to his eyes". There's plenty of people who don't actually know it's an error.
     

    esther927

    Member
    Korean
    Yes. I cannot think of any way of reading this where "was" is correct. Alternatively, the error could be "whites", which should be "white".
    Thank you very much, Jack! But I wonder, considering the fact that "whites" follows "eyes", shouldn't "whites" stay as a plural form?

    Where has this come from? In spoken English it is not unusual to hear a grammatical error such as "there was no whites to his eyes". There's plenty of people who don't actually know it's an error.
    Hello, Andygc. I guess you could be right, because this indeed is spoken English; it's from an interview. Thank you for your response.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thank you very much, Jack! But I wonder, considering the fact that "whites" follows "eyes", shouldn't "whites" stay as a plural form?
    Not if "white" refers to the colour rather than the area around the iris, and "there was no white to his eyes" sounds fine to me.
     
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