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To slash or bracket?

Discussion in 'English' started by spatel, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. Hi All,
    Please help punctuate:
    Encourage mutual sharing of books and reading material/s between staff and students alike.
    Is it material/s or material(s)?
    I've changed it to read material (no 's' at all!) but would love an authoritative view on the correct of use of punctuation marks in alternative plurals.
    Thank you all in advance- can't wait for your response.


     
  2. gruoch

    gruoch New commenter

    I'd say it's simply a metter of preference.
     
  3. Google is a wonderful thing.
    "Reading materials" has about a million hits, "reading material" 1.8 million. So both are used. There's a subtle difference, "surround your children with reading material" (a top hit) doesn't mean quite the same thing as "surround your children with reading materials".
    However in many contexts I think we can say the forms are interchangeable. So choose one, depending on whether your main interest is the content of the texts or the physical objects used to aid reading. There's no real need to indicate that a plural form would also make sense.


     

  4. bgymm1 :Thank you. Will stick with material.
    Grouch: Is the rule to say you can choose '()' or '/' in relation to all plural words?
    (I was going to write plural/s- but am tying myself in knots as not sure that should be plural(s)!?). I would love to be able to say 'the rule is .... taken from...'
    There must be some editor/s or editor(s) out there who have 'official' guidance!
    cheers!
     
  5. Neither. Material or materials would work - in this context they both indicate the plural.
     
  6. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    Absolutely. My own preference is for the brackets. Just seem to make it clearer for me.
     
  7. gruoch

    gruoch New commenter

    [Hi, markuss, I've missed you.]
     

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