Category: Subject and Verb Agreement

What Kind of Rule Is Usually?

Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at 2:38 pm

A thought-provoking inquiry showed up recently in our inbox: I can’t decide which verb is correct in sentences like the following. Would I write There are three kilograms of flour in the kitchen or There is three kilograms of flour in the kitchen? Two meters of fabric is here or Two meters of fabric are …

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What Have We Learned This Year?

Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2014, at 7:40 pm

To close out 2014, we have put together a comprehensive pop quiz based on the year’s GrammarBook.com grammar tips. The quiz comprises twenty-five sentences that may need fixing. Think you can fix them? Our answers follow the quiz. Each answer includes, for your convenience, the title and date of the article that raised the topic. …

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Media Watch

Posted on Monday, November 24, 2014, at 8:41 pm

Here is another batch of bloopers from dailies and periodicals. • “Canada is sending between 50 to 100 military advisers.” Can anyone explain the presence of “between” in that sentence? • “He showed a much improved grasp of the English language than a year ago.” Someone who writes “much improved than a year ago” should …

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Verbal Illusions

Posted on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, at 2:14 pm

Today we’ll look at three perplexing sentences that are the verbal equivalent of optical illusions. • Every man and woman has arrived. Why has? The phrase man and woman denotes a plural subject. Consider the following grammatically sound sentence: The happy man and woman have arrived. Every and happy both function as adjectives that modify man and woman in these almost identical sentences. But every is so powerfully singular that …

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Collective Nouns and Consistency

Posted on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at 4:43 pm

In American English, most collective nouns take singular verbs—except when a sentence emphasizes the individuals in the group, not the group as a whole. In a sentence like The faculty is organized into eight departments, the collective noun faculty is singular. But consider The university’s faculty are renowned scholars in their own right. In that …

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