I recently heard an erudite character on a British show say, “there’s no chimneys there.” I figured it was a glitch (or perhaps a British thing), but it got my wheels spinning because, of course, zero chimneys is not actually more than one, so while the noun is presented as plural, the quantity described is not. Computationally, “chimneys” is, in this case, the name of a set, which happens to be an empty set. Now, I realize that the verb is supposed to agree with the noun, but I wondered (on Facebook, as it were) if in this case it should. Was my beloved, erudite, British character wrong in his verb/subject agreement here really? Or was he being supersmart in “de-pluralizing” an empty set that happened to have a plural name? Of course, my Facebook friends all chided me for questioning the status quo. Harumph. Please let me know if I have even the smallest toe-hold in suggesting that “there IS no chimneys here” can be, at least optionally, correct.
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