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Out of their reach(es)?

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Manager
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Out of their reach(es)? [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2013, 12:29
Hi,

I'm a bit stuck on this particular grammar issue:

As a nutritionist, Jane was careful to keep the cookies out of her child's reach. OK.

As a nutritionist, Jane was careful to keep the cookies out of her children's _____.

Reach? Or Reaches?

Intuitively, any native speaker would choose 'reach', as reaches just sounds unnatural, but why would this be correct?

I will be coming over to pick up the patient's file.
I will be coming over to pick up the patients' files.

Are 'out of reach' / 'out of my/their way' / other similar phrases exempt from grammar for just being idiomatic or something?

Thanks!

Expert advice appreciated :)
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Re: Out of their reach(es)? [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2013, 12:51
Hi ! I'll try to see if I can shed some light :)

Well, the key here is to see that "out of reach" is in itself a phrase that makes sense when those specific 3 words are present.

"...is out of my reach" or "...is out of our reach" - The subject does not change the "reach" plurality because it is "packaged" with "out of .." to actually make sense.

Another simple example would be the more modern, but easily accepted phrase "out of office" - "I am out of office" "They are also out of office" :). Hope it helps!!
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Concentration: General Management, Social Entrepreneurship
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WE: Analyst (Consulting)
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Re: Out of their reach(es)? [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2013, 12:54
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And just to complete the more broad category of such verbs - They are called as Phrasal Verbs and the very basic starting point to read about them could be Wikipedia!

--> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrasal_verb

:)
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Vishnu

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Re: Out of their reach(es)? [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2013, 17:09
Expert's post
mattce wrote:
Hi,

I'm a bit stuck on this particular grammar issue:

As a nutritionist, Jane was careful to keep the cookies out of her child's reach. OK.

As a nutritionist, Jane was careful to keep the cookies out of her children's _____.

Reach? Or Reaches?

Intuitively, any native speaker would choose 'reach', as reaches just sounds unnatural, but why would this be correct?

I will be coming over to pick up the patient's file.
I will be coming over to pick up the patients' files.

Are 'out of reach' / 'out of my/their way' / other similar phrases exempt from grammar for just being idiomatic or something?

Thanks!

Expert advice appreciated :)


I'm interested to know if you (or anyone else for that matter) have encountered this issue on a GMAT SC problem. Since the meaning of the sentence isn't really impacted by making this slight idiomatic error here (keep the cookies out of her children's reach v. reaches) I don't think the GMAT will be keying on an error like this going forward.

KW
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Re: Out of their reach(es)?   [#permalink] 20 Jun 2013, 17:09
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