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Grammar question

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RichMariner
April 17, 2015, 10:10am
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I know we have a lot of people on here who like grammar, so I was hoping a few of you could help me out with this one...

It's a header, and it needs to lead with the number:

4 thousand unique individual's behaviour analysed

Basically I can't work out whether that apostrophe in 'individual's' is right. Should it go after the 's', since we're talking about 2 million individuals as a collective? Or does the word 'unique' change that?

As a side note, I think the word 'unique' is redundant because individuals by their very nature are unique. But forget that for now.



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PPMariner
April 17, 2015, 10:31am

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Individuals'

...and I'd concur on your aside about the use of 'unique'...


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RichMariner
April 17, 2015, 10:39am
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Cheers - that was my gut feeling. Now the really tricky part... can you explain why?


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Maringer
April 17, 2015, 10:50am
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It is the plural possessive:

http://www.scribendi.com/advice/how_to_use_plural_possessives_properly.en.html

On an aside, writing the number '4 thousand' in this sense isn't very good form.

You should really use either '4,000' or 'Four thousand'.

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/10-rules-for-writing-numbers-and-numerals/

Adding the word unique is completely redundant, as you note.
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RichMariner
April 17, 2015, 12:05pm
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Thanks.

The way I see it is:

4,000 unique individuals' behaviour is the noun phrase, with behaviour the head noun.

Analysed is the adverb (the verb is has been dropped, something headlines tend to do).

So the 'behaviour' we're analysing belongs to the 4,000 unique individuals.

It'd be much easier if we could say: "We analysed the behaviour of 4,000 individuals" but alas, the number has to come first in this instance.


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Marinerz93
April 17, 2015, 9:08pm

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I thought this was an ask your nana type question thread  

Anyone know what pub does a lovely cavarly  


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grimsby pete
April 17, 2015, 9:15pm

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Quoted from RichMariner
Thanks.

The way I see it is:

4,000 unique individuals' behaviour is the noun phrase, with behaviour the head noun.

Analysed is the adverb (the verb is has been dropped, something headlines tend to do).

So the 'behaviour' we're analysing belongs to the 4,000 unique individuals.

It'd be much easier if we could say: "We analysed the behaviour of 4,000 individuals" but alas, the number has to come first in this instance.


I am intrigued to know what the outcome was after the four thousand had been analysed.


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KingstonMariner
April 17, 2015, 11:51pm
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Quoted from Maringer
It is the plural possessive:

http://www.scribendi.com/advice/how_to_use_plural_possessives_properly.en.html

On an aside, writing the number '4 thousand' in this sense isn't very good form.

You should really use either '4,000' or 'Four thousand'.

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/10-rules-for-writing-numbers-and-numerals/

Adding the word unique is completely redundant, as you note.


Isn't the word "completely" redundant?  


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Maringer
April 18, 2015, 9:04am
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Completely.

It was just a rhetorical device. One of these, I expect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_rhetorical_terms

I'll be buggered if I'm going to try and work out which was it was though.  
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TownSNAFU5
April 18, 2015, 2:36pm
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I agree with the feedback comments above. Is the 4,000 meant to be an exact number or an approximation?
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