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Example 1

Guys are allowed to bring their girlfriend to the event.

Example 2

Guys are allowed to bring their girlfriends to the event.

Are both of them acceptable?

I don't know why some people use Example 1 instead of Example 2.

Can somebody explain?

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1 Answer 1

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Example 1 is correct, because example 2 could be interpreted as men bringing multiple girlfriends, which is not possible. Why introduce ambiguity when the first sentence is accurate? Therefore, use the first sentence.

"Guys are allowed to bring their girlfriend to the event" means guys (all the guys, so each guy) are allowed to bring their girlfriend. Each guy is allowed to bring his girlfriend. Of course, guys are not sharing a single girlfriend, so there is no ambiguity possible in example 1.

However, they will both be understood as "each man is allowed to bring his girlfriend," so it doesn't really matter that much.

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  • men bringing multiple girlfriends, which is not possible Ummm... really? Believing that would be a BigMistake, indeed! Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 5:16
  • @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket Yes. The speaker is clearly trying to say that each man may bring his girlfriend. The intent of the question is non-ambiguous.
    – BigMistake
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 5:18
  • That's a likely assumption, but we don't know the speaker, so it can only remain an assumption. But I'm clearly making light of your claim that men cannot possibly have multiple girlfriends... heck, many have multiple wives! (And even more have a wife and multiple girlfriends! Who are they allowed to bring?) Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 5:36
  • @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket Presumably, if they are somewhere where English is spoken and they bring multiple wives, they should read the Edmunds Act (or similarly applicable act in their country) before they end up in jail.
    – BigMistake
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 5:42
  • Actually, polygamy is legal (or laws against it are not enforced) in many jurisdictions where English is spoken. See worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/…. Even in the "good ole USA", polygamy still exists in some areas without legal repercussions. Just search YouTube for "polygamy in the USA". Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 9:57

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