Yahoo Answers is shutting down on May 4th, 2021 (Eastern Time) and beginning April 20th, 2021 (Eastern Time) the Yahoo Answers website will be in read-only mode. There will be no changes to other Yahoo properties or services, or your Yahoo account. You can find more information about the Yahoo Answers shutdown and how to download your data on this help page.

Lv 6
? asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 month ago

Which word is correct?

The journalist wanted to know more, but the people were reluctant to talk about their (past / pasts).


1 Answer

  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    As so often, it depends upon the context.  Far too often we are given a short extract and supposed to know what the rest of the sentence is about.  That is not good enough.

    Are these "people" all unconnected individuals, and supposed to be talking about their own past lives (in which case the plural "pasts" should be used),

    or are they a group of people who are describing a single, collective experience which happene  to them all as a group, when the singular "past" would be correct.

    Check by using "past experience" instead of just "past".  You would have to choose between people talking about their "past experience" (a single experience which happened to them all), or people talking about their "past experiences" (their own, individual lives).

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.