1

The following sentence is from my favourite English teacher on the internet.

'Women play a more important role than ever in raising the family'

Why is it that "the family" is used? Shouldn't it be (their) families since the subject is "Women" which is plural.

I also wonder why it couldn't be 'Women play a more important role than ever in raising families' The sentence is speaking that women (in general) are raising families (in general) I do not know why but it does not sound very right to say families.

Because I have my rule in my grammar set back in a few years ago

'Men (plural) have dicks (plural)'

It was confirmed that the sentence is correct by native English speaker so I thought 'Aha! when subject is plural and possess the object, then the object also becomes plural! because man => a dick, men => dicks'. But the rule does't seem to be quite correct in many contexts.

Thanks

3

It is correct either way—(plural) women raising (plural) families, or women (in general) raising "the family" (as a sort of metonymy—"the family" as an abstract, collective moniker for all the families in the country.)

0

I was always taught that in cases like this that the 'raising the family' is the act in which the women are playing a more important role than ever.

As you state, this could equally be written as Women play a more important role than ever in raising their families.

I would suggest that this is placing different emphasis on what they are playing a more important role in - The first is the general concept of raising the family - not necessarily their own family, but as an extended group of non-related people, such as childminders, friends of the family etc., whereas the second is specifically referring to their own relatives.

Apologies for the thread necromancy.

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.