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General Writing and Grammar Help/plural to singular to plural question


In the following paragraph, is the shift from the plural "devices" to a singular device then back to plural again grammatically correct?

Small, lightweight, automated sterile connection devices that can easily be used in multiple parts of your facility can make an impact on your overall efficiency. Each device may be small in size, yet its impact can be significant; use them to follow current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) requirements, safeguard a sterile environment and ensure that your welds are the same every time.

I'm sending this revision because I may not have addressed all of your concerns.

There's nothing wrong with talking about devices and then in the same paragraph (or even in the same sentence) talking about each device.

I also may have used a word, antecedent, that you're not familiar with. The antecedent of a pronoun is the word to which the pronoun refers. In your selection the antecedent of them is (incorrectly) device.

The selection is indeed incorrect with respect to agreement in number. The plural pronoun them must have a plural antecedent, and it does not here. Use it would be correct, as both the pronoun and its antecedent would be singular.

There are other grammatical problems with the selection: follow up if you want elaboration.

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Richard Johnson


I specialize in grammar. I can however answer any question except homework questions--usually the same day--concerning English grammar, usage, or (non-fiction) writing style, on the basis of the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.


I'm a retired editor and a lifelong student of this subject. My library includes a great many works to which I've referred through the years. I currently rely largely on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style supplemented, where appropriate, by Long, The New College Grammar.

For over 30 years I edited the newsletter of my own organization, which had different names but was last known as

BA, Brooklyn College. Advanced studies in economics and political science.

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

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