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What would be the plural form of a child's pedal car?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you're speaking of multiple pedal cars all belonging to one unspecified child:

a child's pedal cars

If you're speaking of multiple pedal cars belonging to multiple children:

children's pedal cars

If you're speaking of multiple pedal cars of the sort children use, undefined in distribution:

child's pedal cars

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The following are various forms of expressing plurality:

  • That child's pedal cars are expensive! (Multiple peddle cars)
  • The children's pedal cars are ready. (At least one per child.)
  • That child has many pedal cars.
  • Look at all those children with their pedal cars. (Ambiguous if any child has more than one.)
  • Each child has a (single) pedal car. (Multiple cars, but only one per child.)
  • All the children have pedal cars. (Ambiguous if any child has more than one.)
  • Some children have pedal cars. (Ambiguous if any child has more than one.)
  • Some children have more than one pedal car. (Ambiguous if any child has zero pedal cars.)
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1  
"Some children have ..." implies that not all children have cars, else you wouldn't use "some". –  Doc May 15 at 3:23
    
"Some" is often used to mean "not all". So, "Some children have x" implies that other children do not have x. –  Gus May 15 at 14:00
    
The above comments by @Doc and Gus are misleading in context to this answer. While it's true that "Some children have a pedal car" could imply that other children do not, my statement Some children have more than one pedal car. does not imply that some children have zero pedal cars. Rather, it implies that some children have either one or zero pedal cars. For example, {Amy has 3, George has 2, Mary has 2, John has 1} => Some children have more than one pedal car. The same is true if "John has 0 pedal cars". Thus it's ambiguous if any child has zero pedal cars. –  CoolHandLouis May 16 at 18:03
    
@Gus, see above. Thanks. –  CoolHandLouis May 16 at 18:03
    
@CoolHandLouis "Some children have pedal cars. (Ambiguous if any child has more than one.)" <- that line is specifically what I was referring to. That said, even "Some children have more than one pedal car. (...)" is, as said in the answer, also ambiguous if any child has none, but inherently implies that some children have only one or none. –  Doc May 16 at 18:06

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