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I am wondering if in a parallel construction we can use the singular along with the plural instead of using either the singular or the plural. I feel strongly that if you use the plural in a parallel construction, you cannot use the singular thereafter esp. if it's in the same sentence.

Example:

The victims were forced to reenact the crimes after they filed a report to the police station.

  • It's not clear what you think might be singular there and is incorrect, or what would be wrong if it were singular. The singulars that are there are "a report" and "the police station". – SamBC Mar 17 at 12:20
  • I thought it was clear I was referring to the word report. – deliguy Mar 17 at 12:24
  • I've added formatting to the question to make clear what you were asking about. – SamBC Mar 17 at 12:26
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Each of them filed only one report. If you used plural, it would be open to interpretation as to whether they were filing multiple reports each, or if the plural referred to all of them and they each filed one.

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I assume you’re talking about victims and crimes here. It depends. If they were all victims of a single crime, then crime would be appropriate.

EDIT: that’s not what you’re asking about. Sorry for the assumption.

The victims were forced to reenact the crimes after they filed a report to the police station.

To make it more clear, if the victims filed one report each, use the word each:

The victims were forced to reenact the crimes after they each filed a report to the police station.

or

Each victim was forced to reenact the crime(s) after they filed a report to the police station.

or

The victims were each forced to reenact the crime(s) after they filed a report to the police station.

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