This looks all wrong to me

(11 Posts)
youmaycallmeSSP Mon 25-Feb-13 09:37:39

DS picked up a Thomas and Friends book at a shop the other day and asked me to read it to him. I would have bought it for him but on the very first page it said "There is always lots of jobs for him to do."

That's wrong isn't it?

Yes

Wronger than a very wrong fing

youmaycallmeSSP Mon 25-Feb-13 09:54:50

I thought so but then wondered if I was missing an obscure rule somewhere. I'm glad I didn't buy it in that case!

somebloke123 Tue 26-Feb-13 11:17:59

It would have been OK to say "There is always a lot of jobs for him to do", but the version given is wrong.

WMittens Tue 26-Feb-13 21:50:13

It would have been OK to say "There is always a lot of jobs for him to do"...

I disagree - 'jobs' is obviously plural so it should have been 'are'.

somebloke123 Wed 27-Feb-13 10:30:22

But "lot" is singular.

A pound of peas costs 50p.

A box of frogs is something I have never seen.

Admittedly the English language is not always consistent on this.

I would think either "is" or "are" would be permissible in this case as idiomatic English.

WMittens Wed 27-Feb-13 21:47:00

Try swapping 'lot' for 'few', 'some' or 'many' and see if it still works:

"There is always many jobs..."
"There is always a few jobs..."
"There is always some jobs..."

'Lot' in this case refers to "more than one", rather than a collection or set of things (a lot at an auction, for example).

Your examples of 'pound' and 'box' are not parallel with 'lot' in this context - the singular pound and the singular box are the subject in each case.

vamosbebe Wed 27-Feb-13 21:49:43

Terrible English.
They've wrote it wrongly.
Glad you didn't not buy it!

WMittens Wed 27-Feb-13 21:49:45

Another example I've just found which is a useful illustration described as countable and uncountable:

"A lot of this material is confusing."

"A lot of these memos are confusing."

You could say, "a lot of this job is going to be time-consuming." 'Jobs' is countable - you can have fewer jobs, rather than less jobs. wink

somebloke123 Thu 28-Feb-13 10:24:35

I'm not sure it's really comparable as "few" and "many" are adjectives and "lot" is a noun.

As I say I don't think the language is particularly consistent on this, in cases where you have one entity which consists of many components. It depends whether you are stressing the entity as a whole or the several components within it.

So "The jury discussed the evidence among themselves [not itself]".

But:

"The "The jury was assembled"

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