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was/were for volume and mass?


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#1 dcch

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:01 PM

Hello forumers Posted Image

English is not my mother tongue. Recently, I came across with a question which confused me in manuscript writing. Should I use "was or were" when involving volume and mass (e.g. ml and g)?

I have different idea with my co-author. He thought "was" should be used for anything described as a value of "1" (singular), otherwise use "were" for any plural. E.g:
1 mL of buffer was added... and
25 mL of buffer were added...
However, his idea cannot explain the involvement of value less than 1, e.g. 0.25 mL.

But in my opinion, these uncountable description should be standardized into "was"... (yeah though volume can actually be counted)..

Which one is grammatically correct? Posted Image
Thx Posted Image

#2 casandra

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 06:21 AM

Hello forumers Posted Image

English is not my mother tongue. Recently, I came across with a question which confused me in manuscript writing. Should I use "was or were" when involving volume and mass (e.g. ml and g)?

I have different idea with my co-author. He thought "was" should be used for anything described as a value of "1" (singular), otherwise use "were" for any plural. E.g:
1 mL of buffer was added... and
25 mL of buffer were added...
However, his idea cannot explain the involvement of value less than 1, e.g. 0.25 mL.

But in my opinion, these uncountable description should be standardized into "was"... (yeah though volume can actually be counted)..

Which one is grammatically correct? Posted Image
Thx Posted Image

but have you checked some of your reference papers for this? Bec right now, I'm looking at 2 papers- one says 50 mg of agarose was boiled in dH20 and the other 150 ul of cell suspension were smeared on slides etc...I think that you will not find any consistency if you read more papers so you just have to be consistent in your use....

perhaps grammatically (but I could be wrong), I'd say only one (1) would be singular.... eg one dollar is, one car was.....and more than one or less than one can go either way eg 0 degrees, no penalties, one fourth was missing and three quarters were gone, I'd guess the decimals can also be plural or singular depending on your perception i.e. singular if you think that it's one part of a whole or plural if you assume that it's a certain number of units within a whole.....that's my take on it but perhaps the others have a better idea....Posted Image

Edited by casandra, 23 December 2011 - 06:36 AM.

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#3 mdfenko

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 11:47 AM

in the sentence, the verb is referring to the buffer, not the volume, so, to be grammatically correct, you should use "was" ("...buffer was added...").
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