Discussion:
In a breakdown by + singular or plural
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h***@gmail.com
2008-02-12 10:24:24 UTC
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Hi folks again.
We, non-native speakers are having a debate on whether
"in a breakdown by" should be followed by singular or plural

The specific problem is
"in a breakdown by countries"
which in my opinion should be
"in a breakdown by country"

Thanks for commenting
CyberCypher
2008-02-12 11:05:04 UTC
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Post by h***@gmail.com
Hi folks again.
We, non-native speakers are having a debate on whether
"in a breakdown by" should be followed by singular or plural
The specific problem is
"in a breakdown by countries"
which in my opinion should be
"in a breakdown by country"
I'd say that in this sentence it doesn't matter much. They're both
grammatical and unambiguous. But I would prefer the singular because
it's idiomatic for me and sounds better to my ear. For example, "in a
breakdown by {sexes/ages/eye-colors}" just doesn't work for me because
of the plurals.
--
--
Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
Cynical by nature, by habit, and by choice.
Native speaker of American English; posting from Taiwan.
"It has come to my attention that my opinions are not universally
shared; ergo, they are not in the public domain." Anymouse.
R H Draney
2008-02-12 19:14:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by CyberCypher
Post by h***@gmail.com
We, non-native speakers are having a debate on whether
"in a breakdown by" should be followed by singular or plural
The specific problem is
"in a breakdown by countries"
which in my opinion should be
"in a breakdown by country"
I'd say that in this sentence it doesn't matter much. They're both
grammatical and unambiguous. But I would prefer the singular because
it's idiomatic for me and sounds better to my ear. For example, "in a
breakdown by {sexes/ages/eye-colors}" just doesn't work for me because
of the plurals.
Was anyone else reminded of the following?

Q: "How many employees do you have, broken down by sex?"
A: "None, really. Drinking is a much bigger problem here."

....r
--
What good is being an executive if you never get to execute anyone?
Mike M
2008-02-12 12:32:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@gmail.com
Hi folks again.
We, non-native speakers are having a debate on whether
"in a breakdown by" should be followed by singular or plural
The specific problem is
"in a breakdown by countries"
which in my opinion should be
"in a breakdown by country"
Definitely singular.

Same with phrases like "listed by country".

Mike M
Mark Brader
2008-02-12 17:06:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike M
Post by h***@gmail.com
We, non-native speakers are having a debate on whether
"in a breakdown by" should be followed by singular or plural
The specific problem is
"in a breakdown by countries"
which in my opinion should be
"in a breakdown by country"
Definitely singular.
Not definitely. It sounds correct both ways to me, although in a
formal context I'd go with the singular.
--
Mark Brader, Toronto Well, somebody had to be the pedant here!
***@vex.net -- David Keldsen
Donna Richoux
2008-02-12 19:31:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@gmail.com
Hi folks again.
We, non-native speakers are having a debate on whether
"in a breakdown by" should be followed by singular or plural
The specific problem is
"in a breakdown by countries"
which in my opinion should be
"in a breakdown by country"
Thanks for commenting
There is a "by XX" phrase used in sorting, and it is singular.

Sort these cards by date.
Arrange these files alphabetically by client name.
Break down these figures by country.
--
Best -- Donna Richoux
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