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When writing a sentence about a gentleman in his organisation, I come across a question of plural form usage.

...he retains his current role as the CEO of Company A and other JVs."

Should the word role be in singular or plural form?

I believe that the "role" should be in singular form for both of the following scenarios:

  1. "the CEO of Company A and other JVs" where "Company A and other JVs" is considered a single entry;
  2. "the CEO of Company A and other JVs" actually means CEO of Company A, CEO of JV(1), CEO of JV(2) and so on.

Grateful for comments.

  • Well, the answer may depend on what "JV" means. I did not encounter this acronym previously. – virolino Sep 20 at 8:53
  • It means “joint venture”, typically a separate corporation owned by two different companies in partnership with one another. – whiskeychief Sep 21 at 1:11
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His role (singular) is as the CEO, whether of one company or more than one.

If his role was to be the CEO of one company and the CFO of another, he would then have separate roles in those companies.

But he has only a single role and that's to be CEO, however many companies are concerned.

Similarly, Rambo's role (singular) is to be an unlikely heroic figure in all the Rambo movies. However, in other movies, Stallone may play different roles (plural).

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The singular of "role" is correct. You can be the CEO of two companies just like you can be the father of two children.

I'm guessing that "JV" is "joint venture" in the context of business, so basically there are multiple companies involved, but the role is still the same.

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The other answers have their merits, but they miss a subtlety, I think.

The singular vs. plural depends on whether the companies / JV's are related or not.

Situation 1: the companies are "associated" with each other in some way, and they behave like one big(ger) company (e.g. alliances). In that case, it is correct to use singular "role", considering that one decision from the CEO will apply to all companies.

In this situation, the role is: "CEO of (X and Y and Z...)"

Situation 2: the companies are not related to each other, but the respective person is hired as CEO in all of them. In this case, he must make distinct decisions for each company / JV separately, he works with different people at different moments. In this case, it is more appropriate to use the plural, because the person is doing more jobs "in parallel", even if the jobs are very similar.

In this case we have several distinct roles: (CEO of X), (CEO of Y), (CEO of Z)...

Note: I am not sure if the situation 2 is legal or not in real life, but from a purely linguistic point of view, it is still a valid option.

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