General Writing and Grammar Help/usage of the word "pros"

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Question
Dear Ted,
I know that one meaning of the expression "pros and cons" is“advantages and disadvantages".  Can you use the word "pros”or“cons" in the singular? In other words, does the following sentence make sense and is it grammatically correct?
"There are many pros and cons to living in Beijing, one pro is the friendly people but one con is the air pollution.”

Answer
Dear Glen:

I know that one meaning of the expression "pros and cons" is“advantages and
disadvantages".  Can you use the word "pros”or“cons" in the singular? In other
words, does the following sentence make sense and is it grammatically correct?
"There are many pros and cons to living in Beijing, one pro is the friendly
people but one con is the air pollution.”

*** You are again correct.  Your sentence is a good example.

Think of this scenario:  A committee meets to make a big decision about membership fees in an organization.  The chair of the committee writes on the black board these two words -- PRO and CON.

The members contributed their ideas about the negative results of raising the membership fees, and the chair writes each one under the word "CON."  Ideas in support of raising the fees are listed under the word "PRO."

If there are 10 ideas under "PRO," then there are ten individual reasons for raising the fees.  Each reason is called a "pro."  

Each reason against raising the fees is called a "con."

It is like saying, "I have 10 'yes' votes and 5 'no' votes."

Ted  

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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