How could you say this:

...where name itself contain "bad".

I am confused whether it will be "contain" or "contains". If the answer is "contain", then why?

  • Welcome to ELL! I am not sure what you mean by this where name itself contain "bad". That doesn't seem a correct English sentence, and it is hard to understand what you are trying to say.
    – apaderno
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 13:46
  • "this" is a sentence more like a quote. and tanks for the welcome Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


It's […] where the name itself contains "bad" because the subject of that clause is singular (name), so you use the third person declination (the name contains).

  • You mean " name itself" is inappropriate. I should write "How could you say this where name contains "bad"." Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 14:22
  • 1
    @Siddhartha: No. But you could ask How could you say this where the name contains "bad"? Note that kiamlaluno only included the (optional) reflexive pronoun itself because in practice native speakers would normally do that for emphasis. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 18:08
  • @FumbleFingers is correct. Since it is not clear from the question if itself is used for emphasis, I left it. I didn't want to give the impression it was wrong to use it. Just don't over-use it, and you are fine.
    – apaderno
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 18:32
  • @kiamlaluno: Looking at this again, I think the most likely context for OP's rather unusual example is programming, where it's quite possible "name" is actually the name of a database field. In which case the determiner the would not be appropriate. But itself could still be included or not, according to style/nuance. My guess is you'd only really want to include it if the context implied that "bad" could occur in other places as well, but we're specifically only interested in cases where it occurs within "name" (whatever that references). Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 12:49
  • @FumbleFingers In that case, it would be where "name" contains "bad". As for itself, I didn't remove it: […] where the name itself contains "bad".
    – apaderno
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 13:38

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