[b-greek] Re: New To List & Use of "Generalized Plural" in Titus 1:6

From: Alan C. Wade (alancwade@msn.com)
Date: Sat Feb 02 2002 - 13:46:15 EST

Hello Jeff,
In regard to your statements, I appreciate your consistency in the use of
similar passages. Another one is Mark 10:29-30. An interesting point in
this passage is its grammatical agreement and similar construction to
Titus 1:6. In the passage there is an indefinite pronoun "no one." This
pronoun agrees with its antecedent "he." The indefinite pronoun is in
agreement with its antecedent. ". . . there is no one who has left . . .
but that he shall receive . . ." With this in mind we can conclude:

Subject and predicate of Mark 10:29
SUBJECT - no one, the antecedent being he in verse 30; singular.
PREDICATE 1 - having left mother or father - only one possible and
permissible; singular
PREDICATE 2 - having left brothers, sisters, or children - certainly
possible and permissible; plural

Subject and predicate of Titus 1:6
SUBJECT - man; singular
PREDICATE 1 - husband of one wife - only one possible and permissible;
PREDICATE 2 - having children - certainly possible and permissible; plural

Will we agree that it is possible to leave only one sister or one child
for the sake of the gospel and the blessing will be applied?

I know less about Greek than you do and most people on the b-Greek list.
So my question for you and others is, are these two passages in the Greek
similar in grammatical construction as in the English translation (NAS)
presented above?

Ken Hyde, a teacher in the language department, at the University of
Delaware, wrote concerning this kind of generic use of plurals: "This
question gets at the issue of defaults in language. In English, all count
nouns (that is, all nouns that refer to "things" rather than "substance")
must be marked as either singular or plural. There are no exceptions.
When we are unsure of the actual number involved, we use the default value
for the language (linguists refer to this phenomenon as "the emergence of
the unmarked"). In English (and, as far as I know, in most other
Indo-European languages with count/mass noun distinctions), the default
value for nouns is "plural." In a sense, this is logical. In English,
plural covers more possibilities than singular: singular means "exactly
one," while plural means "different from one." Since the set of
possibilities that are "different from one" is a larger set than the set
of possibilities that is "equal to one," it makes a certain kind of sense
to use the plural as the default (the probability of being correct is

Alan C. Wade

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