Reply to "Mile or Miles?"

Hello, Paul, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange!

It's obvious to me, from an intuitive standpoint as a native speaker, that the plural is needed, even though the distance is less than one mile: "The sign was 0.05 miles from the house."

I had hoped to be able to substantiate that with reference to a revered grammatical work; however, after spending an hour going through about 20 grammar books, I haven't found anything.

I am done searching for now. It is not a satisfying way to spend an unpaid evening, especially since the answer is already obvious to me, and Wikipedia even confirms it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plural

I have most of the grammar references listed in the bibliography of that article and didn't find the topic covered in them. Maybe if I spent 6 hours more on the project I'd find a better reference for you.

I'd like to add two points in closing. First, we would use the singular in "The sign was five hundredths of a mile from the house." Second, if you abbreviate ("0.05 mi."), you can avoid the problem.

It is an interesting topic! It might be called a grammatical paradox. ♣

 

×
×
×
×