English Grammar


Perhaps it's the lobster tails

My inner grammar siren wails loudly, when I read this!


The full text of my daily lesson: I suppose I've put on a few pounds: Perhaps it's the lobster tails, they are quite calorific.


In English it seems possible and quite correct to melt singular and plural.
Otherwise I would prefer: Perhaps it's due to the lobster tails.

3 comments

  • My inner grammar siren wails loudly, when I read this!


    The full text of my daily lesson: I suppose I've put on a few pounds: Perhaps it's the lobster tails, they are quite calorific.


    In English it seems possible and quite correct to melt singular and plural.
    Otherwise I would prefer: Perhaps it's due to the lobster tails.
  • Hi Gwendo,


    Of course, you're right. When I heard stuff like "It's me" or "it's the people" for the first time, my German grammar sirene wailed loudly. But since I've heard phrases like these hundreds of times, my German grammar sirene has got insensitive for the English language - and eventually I've developed a separate English grammar sirene - which is though still failing every now and then.


    But it's also logical in this case, due to the strict order in English, which is always:
    subject(it) -verb(is) -object(the tails)


    In English, "it" is the subject, whereas in German "the tails" is the subject: "Die Hummerschwänze sind es". Since you can swap the order in German, "Es sind die Hummerschwänze" is the same sentence.


    In a nutshell: In English "it" (singular) is the subject, in German "lobster tails" (plural) is the subject.


    I'm not a teacher, but I hope I have explained it comprehensible.
  • I consider that shortcut very common in the everyday informal language.
    Don't you use similar structures in German?
    The 'it' of "It's the lobster tails" is a pronoun substituting for the whole clause "I've put on a few pound." and as you suggest it, "due to" has been dropped. To my mind, just here there is no mixture of singular and plural.
    Don't you think so?
    Good to you, Gwendo, to have an inner grammar siren! I wish I had one.

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