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Why is this sentence singular (using another) 'We drank another 2 beers..'?

Mark Skype Teacher

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Hi all,

I hope all is well.

I was wondering about the following sentence. 'We drank another 2 beers before going home'?

Since we say 'other people/cars' etc which is plural, why do we not use 'other' in the above sentence since '2 beers' appears to be plural?

My feeling is that '2 beers' is treated as a singular unit/group/set for some reason. I think it is because the '2 beers' is actually a group or set or unit. If we think that the people drank 4 sets/groups/unit of 2 beers in one night, I think therefore 4 units/groups/sets were drunk. Thus, they could be treated as singular as we can indeed say 'a set/unit/group'. We could actually say 'lets have a group of beers' or 'here we have another 2 beers'.

Does anyone have a better explanation for this so I can pass this on to my student? Many thanks.

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I see this as an issue of clarity in meaning. 

As such, I think "another 2 beers" is an awkward construction.  I don't think it's incorrect, per se, but it does sound a bit awkward and thus, there is some ambiguity in the meaning. 

It would be more descriptive and less awkward to say "We drank 2 more beers before going home." 

This is substituting "2 more" for "another 2" which I think sounds better. 

To really pin down the meaning it could be:

"Each of us drank 2 more beers before going home."  Or "Between all of us we drank 2 more beers before going home."  In the latter case, it makes it clear that the 2 beers were shared among the group. 

I hope this is helpful and makes sense. :)

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Hi Laura,

Thank you for your response.

I agree that '2 more beers' is a very good option also, of course. In the UK at least we use 'another 2 beers' or 'a couple more beers' rather a lot: perhaps the latter 2 options would be considered more informal in terms of tone.

Have a nice day.

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