What is the best way to say what I am trying to say:

  1. Let’s decide the number of which we are going to change the sign.
  2. Let's decide the number whose sign is going to be changed.
  3. Let's decide the number which we are going to change the sign of.

Why one is correct or not? What is the most natural one?

  • 1
    I think I might phrase it a little differently, "Let's decide which number we are going to change its sign." – Damkerng T. Sep 21 '14 at 16:25
  • @DamkerngT. Is the first sentence wrong? With of which I am referring to the number... – nbro Sep 21 '14 at 20:31
  • My opinion is: all of your alternatives are grammatical. There are two main reasons that I simplified your original. First, "Let's" and "going to" make me think of a less formal context. And second, personally, "decide which number [we will choose]" sounds more idiomatic than "decide the number [that we well choose]". – Damkerng T. Sep 21 '14 at 22:19
  • After reviewing my comments (and answers), I believe that my version is ungrammatical. FWIW, I agree with Tim Romano's answer below. – Damkerng T. Sep 22 '14 at 22:59

Are you talking about changing a number from positive to negative? 1 or -1?

Let's decide on the number whose sign we will change.

The sentence in bold above assumes you have a list of numbers, 4, 12, -789, 22, 540, whatever, and you're going to pick one of them and change it from positive to negative or negative to positive.

Decide on, decide upon...


And if you are not obliged to use the verb "decide" you could also say it like this:

Let's choose the number whose sign we will change.

Let's settle on a number whose sign we will change.

or even

Let's pick a number and change its sign.

| improve this answer | |
  • Yes, I am talking about changing its sign (ofc), but first I have to choose the number, that's why I am talking about deciding... – nbro Sep 23 '14 at 6:29

I think these sentences have not been formed in a right way. How come we use "decide" and "going to" together. We use going to when we have a decision, intention, plan or are certain to do something in the future. These sentences may be rewritten as follows:

1- let's decide the number the sign of which we need to change.

2- let's decide the number whose sign we need to change.

3- let's decide the number which we need to change the sign of.

I think we should prefer the first or second sentence to the third one.

| improve this answer | |

The example sentences are too complicated, so they are hard to understand.

Here are two options:

"We need to change the sign of a number. Which number should we negate?"

"We need to change the sign of a number. Let's choose a number, and negate it."

The first option asks for a decision. The second option emphasizes the decision process.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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