Agreement question

Joanne M. Despres jdespres at MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM
Fri Oct 18 17:44:42 UTC 2002

> I'm thinking that it might be the influence of the -s ending
> of _press,_ which, though not a plural ending, might suggest
> plurality enough that "The stories the press tell are shaped..."
> doesn't seem obviously wrong.
The influence of the -s ending was exactly what ran through my head
as I read through your post, though maybe it's the combination of the -s
AND the notional plurality of the noun AND the grammatical plurality
of the inverted direct object that do the trick; taken together, they
throw my brain into enough confusion to let the solecism slip by
unnoticed.  I suppose there must be a limit to one's linguistic short-
term memory just as there is to one's mathematical memory (as,
for example, when you're quoted too many numbers to remember).

Joanne Despres

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