Here is a sentence that is confusing me:

I don't like stories that have unhappy endings.

I am confused about the usage of the plural noun 'endings'. I think a story normally has only one ending. So it's more natural for me to say '... stories that have an unhappy ending'.

I are not sure whether the plural noun 'endings' here is used to mention a particular kind like 'Dogs are animals'. Are the plural version and the singular version have the same meaning? Or the writer of the sentence wanted to imply a story may have multiple endings?

1 Answer 1


It's not implying that a each story has multiple endings, it's merely making the plural on the beginning match to the ending of the phrase.

If you want, you can think that several stories have several endings, in total, with each having one (or maybe more).

It's more easily seen in this example "Eight fairy tales and their not so happy endings" - saying "Eight fairy tales and their not so happy ending" sounds really wrong.

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