1

Raja Rammohan Roy was greatly pained when he heard the cries of ....... ?

  1. widows being burnt on their husband's pyres.
  2. the widows being burnt on their husband's pyres.
  3. widows being burnt on their husbands' pyres.
  4. the widows being burnt on their husbands' pyres.

Which out of four options is correct here ?

Personally I think 4th option is the best as widows is a noun we need an article with it and since we are referring to specific widows ( who are being burned) the article will fit and since widows is plural so I think husbands' is better than husband's. Am I correct ?

  • 2
    Husbands' is certainly to be preferred; but the presence or absence of the will depend on the discourse context--whether or not these widows have already been introduced into the discourse. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 20 '17 at 14:36
3

(1) and (2) are not correct if there are multiple husbands. (Even if there's only one, it's not likely that he has several different widows and even less likely that he has several different pyres!)

For (3) and (4), as @StoneyB and @Phil14 said, the choice depends on the context.

He was pained when he heard the sound of widows being burnt on their husbands' pyres.
We have not yet heard about these widows, at least not these specific ones.

He was pained when he heard the sound of the widows being burnt on their husbands' pyres.
We have been told about these widows before.

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