Currently, I am using a children's English coursebook called Gold Experience A2, by Pearson, it's for a private student of mine. It's supposed to help young learners prepare for the KEY exam, and it covers the basics. In chapter 02 there is a short report entitled Tech-free Teens—is it possible? and the following lines
Here is the image of the text
[...] The students at Southshore High School are taking part in an experiment. Can they live without technology for a week? This means no Facebook, no Twitter, no emails, no texts, no television and no mobile phones. Each morning they write about their thoughts and feelings in their school diary.
So, what do the students think?
If I read that sentence aloud, it sounds perfectly normal and OK, but in print I'm less certain. Shouldn't the last noun be plural, i.e. school diaries?
I'm trying to figure out why the author used the singular noun form instead of the plural, and here are my initial thoughts:
- Is school diary uncountable?— No.
- Is the subject plural — Yes, it is. The subject is "the students"
- Do all the students share and write in the same diary?— No.
- Is the singular prefered because of euphony?— I don't think so.
- Do we say: (1.) The tourists brought their passport, or (2.) The tourists brought their passports? — Only the second one is correct.
- Did the author misuse the singular they? — I think they did.
Q1.: Is this construction becoming standard in the UK and the US? — Because I have no idea.
Q2.: Why is school diary singular here?