3

There was a sentence and I had to detect the error in it.
The sentence read:

Entrance exams for the posts of associate professors will begin from Tuesday.

The answer was:

instead of posts, post is correct.

But I don't think it is correct. There may be many posts of many professors so one can easily say posts/post of professors.
But is that correct what I think?

1

If I were writing the sentence, my first correction would be to change from Tuesday to on Tuesday. I find that the use of from to be a lot more unnatural than the plural posts.

Having said that, while the plural posts is possible, it doesn't sound as natural to me as the singular would.

However, even though there might be a plural number of posts, they will still all be for an associate professor position. So, the singular professor does need to be used. Turning both of them into a plural is a mistake.

In short, I would write it like this:

Entrance exams for the post of associate professor will begin on Tuesday.

While my preference is for the singular, I would be fine with the plural posts if there really were several posts available.


If there are several posts available, you can look at the sentence in the following way to understand why the singular professor should be used:

Entrance exams for associate-professor posts will begin on Tuesday.

1

If you look at this NGram graph, you will see that the post of is very much more common than the posts of. This is probably largely because most references to a post are for a single position, either because there is only one person with a particular job title or because there are many people with the same job title but generally only one position is vacant at any time.

That said, we can also use the post of to refer to a particular type or class of position, which is uncountable, even when many people can fill that post. Here is a typical example:

We recommend that the post of Gardener be graded on Scale G 1, 2 and Head Gardener on Scale G 3. - Report of the Grading Team on the Grading of Posts in the Public Services of the Federation of Nigeria, April 1966

In the sentence that you quote, it is perfectly acceptable to say the post of, as a class description, even if there are many positions of associate professor available:

Entrance exams for the post of associate professor will begin on Tuesday

Most native English speakers would prefer to use the the post of in this way, though I think that very few would be able to explain this preference.

You are quite correct that using the plural posts is not wrong, though the singular is much more widely used.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.